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^ ^^H 

THK BRQITKK'r <)!' J" 








AYLORi a'Jb. 8t m. r. c. s. 

i#inw. Imp. guoait Apofhnii Tvnum 
Vol. IV. p. aei. 





D I E G E S I S; 









• • • 

. * • 

BY : *.."-•' ••• 

«, '••; . 

The Rev. ROBERT TAYLOR; a.'b. &m. b. c. s. 

9^i\ocrofiav ii nnr i^n Kara fuo'iv^ n ffq^iXiv, ifcami 
Hat ao'^atoyp my h 6iOM>MTitf facxoucratf Tofdirou* — 
Euphrates PhOowpfu ad' VespanoM, Imp, ^oad Apolionii Tyana 
Miraeala: citanie Lardnero^ Vol, IV, p. 291. 



1829. A 



■ r~ 





Reverend and learned Sirs, 

In interesting remembrance of the high sense 
your learned body were pleased to express of my 
successful studies, when I received your general 
vote of thanks, delivered to me by the Master 
himself, the late Dr. Craven, for the honour you 
were pleased to consider that my poor talents and 
application, in statu pupilariy had conferred on 
our College, which holds such distinguished rank 
in the most distinguished University in the world ; 
I very respectfully dedicate the Dusgesis, the 
employment of my many solitary hours in an 
unjust imprisonment, incurred in the most glo- 
rious cause that ever called virtue to act, or 



fortitude to suffer. You will appreciate (far beyond 
any wish of mine that you should seem to appre- 
ciatjg) the merits of this work. Your assistance 
for the perfecting of future editions^ by animad- 
version on any errors which might have crept into 
the first ; and the feeling with resj^ect to it, which 
I cannot but anticipate, though it may never be 
expressed ; will amply gratify an ambition whose 
undivided aim was to set forth truth, and nothing 
else but truth. 



Oakham Gaol, Feb. 19, 1S29. 


Prolegomena. p^ 
Importance of the subject — Criminality of indifference— 
Dr. Whitby's last thoug^hts, &c 1 

Chapter I. 

Definitions — Hme, Place, Circumstances, Identity of Jesus 
Christ of Nazareth, necessary to be established — Geography 
of Palestine 4 

Chaptkb II. 

The Christian and Pagan Creeds collated — The Apostle's 
Creed, a Forgery — Inference that it is a Pagan document 
applied to Christian purposes — Necessity of examining the 
pretences of all writings that lay claim to Canonical 
authority 9 

Craptsr III. 

State of the Heathen World— -Heathenism to be judged as 
Christians would wish their own religion to be judged — The 
Pacific Age — The genius of Paganism most tolerant and 
philosophical — Vast difference between the philosophers and 
the vulgar — The philosophers were Deists — The vulgar 
infinitely credulous 11 

Chapter IV. 

The State of the Jews— The Jews the grand exception to 
the prevalence of universal toleration — They plagiarized 
Pagan fables into their pretended divine theology — Were as 
gross Idolaters as the Heathens^-Truth of Judaism not essen- 
tial to the truth of Christianity — The Pharisees — The Sad- 
ducees — The Cabbala — The Jews had no notion of the immor- 
tality of the soul ; while the Heathens had more practical 
faith therein, than any Christians of the present day 20 

Chapter V. 

State of Philosophy — A generally prevailing debility of the 
human understanding—- Vitiation of morals — Destruction of 
documents — Maxims of deceiving the vulgar, and perpetuating 
ignorance, approved by St. Paul — King's College, London — 
Gnosticism — Systems of philosophy 30 



Chapter VI. 

Admissions of Christian writers — Deficiency of evidence- 
Christians before the Christian era — Christian frauds — Chris- 
tian scriptures not in the hands of the laity — Christianity and 
Paganism hardly distinguishable — Miraculous powers, dreams, 
visions, charms, S|>ell8 — Name of Jesus a spell 38 

Chapter VII. 
Of the Essenes or Therapeuts — Differences of opinion with 
respect to them — Every thing of Christianity is of Egyptian 
origin — Apostolic and Apotactic monks — The Therapeuts 
were Christians before the Augustan era — Eclectics — ^The 
forgery of the gospels ascribed to mongrel Jews •'^S 

Chapter VIII. 

The Christian scriptures, doctrines, discipline and eccle- 
siastical polity, long anterior to the period assigned as that of 
the birth of Christ — Recapitulation — An original translation 
of the famous 16th chapter of the 2nd book of £usebius*s 
Ecclesiastical History 66 

Chapter IX. 
Of Philo and his testimony — Sum of his admissions 74 

Chapter X. 

Corollaries — Eusebius — Sufficient guarantee for the text of 
Philo— Conflicting opinions — Severe sarcasm of Gibbon — 
The demonstration absolute that the monks of Egypt were 
the authors of the gospels — Mr. Evanson's perplexities relieved 
— Alexandria the cradle of Christianity — Its slow progress — 
Episcopal insolence of Dionysius — St. Mark, a monk 7^ 

Chapter XI. 

Corroborations of the evidence arising from the admissions 
of Eusebius, in the New Testament itself 86 

Chapter XII. 

References to the monkish or Therapeutan doctrines to be 
traced in the New Testament — John the Baptist, a monk — 
Monkish rules in the New Testi>ment — Apollos, a Therapeuts 
— Vagabond Jews — The New Testament entirely allegorical 
— The English translation of it. Protestantizes in oreler to 
keep its monkish origin out of sight — St. Paul's account of 
the resurrection wholly different from that of the Evangelists 
—The conclusion 90 

Chapter XIII. 

On the claims of the scriptures of the New Testament to 
be considered as genuine and authentic — Preliminary — The 
authenticity of St. Paul's epistles, and of so much of his his- 

00NTENT8. til 


tory (miracles excepted) as is contained in the Acts of the 
Apostles, affords no presumption in favour of the Canonical 
gospels — The canon of the New Testament not settled even 
so late as the middle of the sixth century — Mode of argument 
to be observed in this Dibgesis 109 

Chapter XIV. 

Canons of criticism — Data of criticism to be applied in 
judging the comparative claims of the apocryphal and 
canonical gospels— Corollaries — Dr. Lardner's table of times 
and places 113 

Chapter XV. 

Of the four gospels in general — Confession of the forgery 
of the gospels, by Paustus — ^Twenty objections to be sur- 
mounted — Order for a general alteration of the gospels by 
Anastasius — Alterations by Lanfranc 114 

Chapter XVI. 

Of the origin of our three first canonical gospels — The 
great plagiarism gradually discovered — Le Clerc — Dr. Sem- 
ler — Lessing*shypothesis,Niemeyer's,Halfeld*s,Beausobre*s, 
Bishop Marsh's— The Diegesia— The Gnomologue 119 

Chapter XVII. 

Of St. John's gospel in particular — Dr. Semler's hypo- 
thesis—^Evansoo — Bretschneider — Falsehood of gospel geo- 
graphy, of gospel dates, of gospel statistics, of gospel 
phraseology 130 

Chapter XVIII. 
Ultimate result — The monks of Egypt, the fabricators of 
the whole Christian system • 136 

Chapter XIX. 

Resemblances of the Pagan and Christian theology — 
Augury and bishops — iEsculapius — Hercules — Adonis— 
Parallel passages in Cicero and the New Testament — 
Royal priests — Subordinate clergy— Priests of Cybele — 
Parasites or domestic chaplains — Conversion from Paganism 
to Christianity brought about entirely by a transfer of 
property 199 

Chapter XX. 

iGtculapius and Jesus Christ, the same figment of imagi- 
nation — Miracles of iEsculapius better authenticated than 
those of Jesus — iEsculapius distinguished by the very epithets 
afterwards ascribed to Jesus 148 

Chapter XXI. 
Hercules and Jesus Christ, the same figment of imagi- 
natioD^Dr. Parkhurst's anger at those who doubt that 



Hercules was a divinely intended type of Jesus Christ — 
Pagan form of swearings — Superior moral virtue of Turks. ... 1 54 

Chapter XXII. 

Adonis — Ridiculous literal renderings of the Psalms — 
Jehovah and Adonis used indifferently as common names 
of the same deity — Words of our Easter hymn used at the 
festival of the Adonia 158 

Chapter XXIII. 

The mystical sacrifice of the Phc»nicians — A draft of the 
whole Christian system — Archbishop Magee, one of the 
Author's persecutors 168 

Chapter XXIV. 

Chrishna^ of the Brahmins, the original Jesus Christ — The 
absolute identity of Chrishna and Christ, triumphant in the 
complete overthrow of all the attempts of Drs. Bentley and 
Smithy Beard, and others to disprove it*— Dishonest engage- 
gement of Christian Missionaries 168 

Chapter XXV. 

Apollo, Jesus Christ the Egyptian version of the Indian 
Christ 180 

Chapter XXVI. 

Mercury, Jesus Christ — The Word, Jesus Christ — Ame- 
lius proves their identity • 183 

Chapter XXVU. 

Bacchus, Jesus Christ — His name Yes — Bacchus ad- 
dressed in the very words of Christian worship — A personi- 
fication of the Sun — The Bacchanalia identical with Chris- 
tian sanctification 186 

Chapter XXVIII. 

Prometheus, Jesus Christ — ^The Grecian version of the 
Indian Chrishna, identical with the Christian god. Provi- 
dence — The preternatural darkness at the Crucifixion a pal- 
pable falsehood, derived from iEschylus's tragedy of Prome- 
theus Bound 191 

Chapter XXIX. 

The Sign of the Cross entirely Pagan — Found in the 
temple of the god Serapis — The high priests of Serapis 
known and distinguished by the title of Bishops of Christ.... 198 

Chapter XXX. 

The Tauribolia — The whole theory and practice of the 
Christian doctrine of Regeneration. ••••••• 20? 

Chapter XXXI. 
Baptism — The Baptists an effeminate and debauched order 



of Pagan priests — Astrological character of John the Baptist 
— H)f St. Thomas — the New Testament entirely allegorical. 208 

Chaptsr XXXII. 

The Eieusinian Mysteries entirely the same as the Chris- 
tiao Sacrament of the Lord's Supper— Bacchus, as the Sun, 
the common object of worship in both 212 

Chaptee XXXIII. 
Pythagoras, the type of the human or man- Jesus — The 
Pythagorean Metempsychosis the best system of supematu- 
ralism 217 

Chaptbr XXXIV, 

Archbishop Tillotson's Confession of the identity of Chris- 
tianity and Paganism • •...• 224 

CAaptbr XXXV. 

Resemblance of Pagan and Christian forms of worship^ 
The White Surplice— The Baptismal Font — ^Nundination 
and Infant Baptism— -The old stories of the ancient Paganism 
adopted into Christianity — ^The Pantheon — Similar inscrip- 
tions in Pagan Temples and ChristiaB Churches — Saints and 
Martyrs that never existed ^ 229 

Chapter XXXVI. 

Specimens of Pagan Piety— The first Orphic Hymn to 
Prothynea — Hymn to Diana — ^The Creed and Golden Verses 
of Pythagoras — The Morals of Confbcins 239 

Chapter XXXVII. 

Charges brought against Christianity by its early adversa- 
ries, and the Christian manner of answering those charges — 
The Doctrine of Manes and his History — Demonstration 
that no such person as Jesus Christ ever existed— Admisssion 
of Bishop Herbert Marsh — Admissions to the same effect of 
the early Fathers 244 

Chapter XXXVIIL 

Christian Evidences adduced from Christian Writings — 
Dorotheus' Lives of the Apostles — Origin of the Acts of the 
Apostles, Cephas, Judas, Mark, Luke, Paul — That there is 
no difference between the Popish legends and the canonical 
acts of the Apostles — That no such persons as the twelve 
Apostles ever existed • 260 

Chaptkr XXXIX. 

The Arguments of Martyrdom — ^That Martyrdom is not 
the kind of evidence which we have a right to expect — 
The impropriety of the argument as it respects the charac- 
ter of God — The impropriety of the argument as it respects 
the character of Man — ^That the ai^fument of martyrdom is 
afaeolurtely not lnie>-^€(pecimenfr of Martyrelogy 274 



Chapter XL. 

The Apostolic Fathers— St Barnabas, St. Clement, St. 
Hermas, St. Polycarp, St. Ignatius — Correspondence of Ig- 
natius with the Virgin Mary — Result --Perfect parallel of 
Pagan and Christian Mysteries 287 

Chapter XLI. 

The Fathers of the Second Century — Papias Quadratus, 
Aristides, Hegesippus, Justin Martyr, Melito, St. Irenceus, 
Pantsenus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian 304 

Chapter XLII. 

The Fathers of the Third Century — Origen — The dolo- 
rous lamentation of Origen — His answer to Celsus, St. Gre- 
gory Thaumaturgus, St. Cyprian 328 

Chapter XLIII. 

The Fathers of the Fourth Century — Constantine the 
Great — Motives of his Conversion — ^The Evidences of Chris- 
tianity as they appeared to Constantine. His oration to the 
clergy-*— Eusebiusy the great Ecclesiastical Historian — ^Tbe 
holy dog 345 

Chapter XLIV. 

Testimony of Heretics^ who denied Christ's humanity — 
Cordon, Marcion, Leucius, Apelles, Faustus — Who denied 
Christ's^ divinity — Who denied Christ's Crucifixion — Who 
denied Christ's Resurrection.... • 364 

Chapter XLV. 

The whole of the external evidence of the Christian Re- 
ligion — The testimony of Lucian, of Phlegon*— The passage 
of Macrobius — ^Publius Lentulus-^The Veronica handker- 
chief — The testimony of Pilate— A coincident passage from 
Amobius — The passa^ of Josephus — The celebrated in- 
scription to Nero— Similar Inscriptions-— Tacitus, Sueto- 
nius, Pliny, Epictetus, Plutarch, Juvenal, Emp. Adrian, Emp. 
Aurelius Antoninus, Martial, Apuleius, Lncian — List of An-^ 
cient writers * 375 


Containing an account of the various known M.S. copies 
of the New Testament, and the source of the present received 
copy — Various versions, Greek editions, and translations, of 
the New Testament — Spurious passages in ditto— False re- 
presentations — Abbreviations — Dates of the reigns of the 
Roman Emperors — Names and order of the succession of the 
Christian fathers and heretics — Ecclesiastical Historians and 
councila^-Sketch of the general councils — Present ecclesias- 
tical revenues—Numerical extent of Christianity — Authori- 
ties adduced in this Diegesi»— Texts of Scripture brought 
ioto illustration in this Dii^fesis • • • • 416 


On all hands 'tis admitted that the Christian religion is 
matter of most serious importance: it is so, if it be 
truth, because in that truth a law of faith and conduct 
measuring out to us a propriety of sentiment and action, 
which would otherwise not be incumbent upon us, is pro- 
pounded to our observance in this life; and eternal conse- 
quences of happiness or of misery, are at issue upon our 
observance or neglect of that law. 

To deny to the Christian religion such a degree of im- 
portance, is not only to launch the keenest sarcasm against 
its whole apparatus of supernatural phenomena, but is 
virtually to withdraw its claims and pretensions alto- 
gether. For if men, after having received a divine reve- 
lation, are brought to know no more than what they knew 
before, nor are obliged to do any tiling which other- 
wise they would not have been equally obliged to do ; 
nor have any other consequences of their conduct to hope 
or fear, than otherwise would have been equally to be 
hoped or feared ; then doth the divine revelation reveal 
nothing, and all the pretence thereto, is driven into an 
admission of being a misuse of language. On the other 
hand* the Christian religion is of scarce less importance, 
if it be false ; because, no wise and good man could pos- 
sibly be indifferent or unconcerned to the prevalence of 
an extensive and general delusion. No good and amiable 
heart could for a moment think of yielding its assent to so 
monstrous an idea, as the supposition that error could 
possibly be useful, that imposture could be beneficial, 
that the heart could be set right by sc^tting the under- 
standing wrong, that men were to be made rational by 
being deceived, and rendered just and virtuous by cre- 
dulity and ignorance. 

To be in error one's self, is a misfortune ; and if it be 
such an error as mightily affects our peace of mind, it is 
a very grievous misfortune ; to be tlie cause of error to 
others, either by deceiving them ourselves, or by conniv- 
ance, and furtherance of the councils and machinations 
by which we see that they are deceived, is a crime ; it is 
a most cruel triumph over nature's weakness, a most 



barbarous wrong done to our brother man ; it is the kind 
of wrong which we should most justly and keenly resent, 
could we be sensible of its being put upon ourselves. 

A Nero playing upon his harp, in view of a city in 
flames, is a less frightful picture than that of the soli- 
tary philosopher basking in the serenity of his own 
speculations, but indifferent to the ignorance he could 
remove, the error he could correct, or the misery he 
could relieve. 

As then there is no falsehood more apparently false^ 
and more morally mischievous, than to suppose that error 
can be useful, and delusion conducive to happiness and 
virtue : so, there can be no place for the medium or al- 
ternative of indifference between the truth or falsehood of 
the Christian religion. Every argument that could show 
it to be a blessing to mankind, being true, must in like 
degree tend to demonstrate it to be a curse and a mischief, 
being false. 

If it be true, there can be no doubt that God, its all wise 
and benevolent author, must have given to it such suf- 
ficient evidence and proofs of its truth, that every crea- 
ture whom he hath endued with rational faculties, upon 
the honest and conscientious exercise of those faculties, 
must be able to arrive at a perfect and satisfactory con- 
viction. To suppose that there either is, or by any pos- 
sibility could be, a natural disinclination or repugnancy 
in man's mind, to receive the truths of revelation, is '' to 
charge God foolishly */' as if, when he had the making of 
man's mind, and the making of his revelation also, he 
had not known how to adapt the one to the other ; nor 
is it less than to open the door to every conceivable ab- 
surdity and imposture, and to give to the very grossness 
and palpability of falsehood, thtctdvantage over evidence, 
truth, and reason. If we are to conceive that any thing 
may be the more likely to be true, in proportion to its ap- 
pearing more palpably and demonstrably false, and that 
God can possibly have intended us to embrace that, 
which he has so constituted our minds, that they must na- 
turally suspect and dislike it, why so, then, all principles 
and tests of truth and evidence are abolished at once ; we 
may as well take poison for our food, and rush on what 
our nature shudders at, for safety. 

To suppose that belief or unbelief can either be a virtue 
or a crime, or any man morally better or worse for belief 
or unbelief, is to assume that man has a faculty which 


we see and feel that he has not;* to wit, — a power of 
making himself belieye, of being convinced when he is 
not convinced, and not convinced when he is: which is a 
being and not being at the same time, the sheer end of 
^' all discourse of reason." 

To suppose that a suitable state of mind, and certain 
previous dispositions of meekness, humility, and teacha- 
bleness are necessary to fit us for the reception of divine 
truth, as the soil must be prepared to receive the seed, 
is in like manner to argue preposterously, and to open 
the door to the reception of falsehood as well as of truth ; 
as the prepared ground will fertilize the tares as prolifi- 
cally as the wheats and is indifferent to either. 

^d in proportion as the state of mind so supposed to 
be necessary, is supposed to be an easily yielding, 
readily consenting, and feebly resisting state ; the more 
facile is it to the practices of imposture and cunning, and 
the less worthy conquest of evidence and reason. The 
property of truth is not, surely, to wait till men are in 
right frames of mind to receive it, but to find them wrong, 
and to set them right ; to find them ignorant and to make 
them wise ; not created by the mind^ but itself the mind's 
creator ; it is the sovereign that ascends the throne, and 
not the throne that makes tlie sovereign ; where it reigns 
not, right dispositions cannot be found, and where it 
reigns, they cannot be wanting. 

The highest honour we can pay to truth, is to show our 
confidence in it, and our desire to have it sifted and ana- 
lyzed, by how rough a process soever; as being well assured 
that it is that alone that can abide all tests, and which, 
like the genuine gold, will come out all the purer from 
the fiercer fire. 

While there arQ bad hearted men in the world, and 
those who wish to make falsehood pass for truth, they 
will ever discover themselves and their counsel, by their 
impatience of contradiction, their hatred of those who 
differ from them, their wish to suppress inquiry, and 
their bitter resentment, when what they call truth, has not 
been handled with the delicacv and niceness, which it was 
never any thing else but falsehood that required or 

All the mighty question now before us requires, is, at- 
tention and ability ; without any presentiment, prejudica- 

* This thonght in Dr. Whitby's ; who, after publishing his ▼oluminoos 
Conneiittry on the Scriptures, published this among his '' I^st Thoughts.*' 

B 2 


tioii) or prepossession whatever ; but with a perfect and 
eqaal willingness to come to such conclusion as the evi- 
dence of moral demonstration shall offer to our convic- 
tion, and to be guided only by such c&nons or rules of 
evidence as determine our convictions with respect to all 
other questions. 



By the Christian religion, is to be understood the whole 
system of theology found in the Bible, as consisting of 
the two volumes of the Old and New Testament ; and as 
that system now is^ and generally has been understood, 
by the many^ or general body of that large community of 
persons professing and calling themselves Christians. 

That this system of theology might not be confounded 
with previously existing pretences to divine revelation, 
or held to be a mere enthusiasm or conceit of imagina- 
tion, its best and ablest advocates challenge for it, his- 
torical data, and affect to trace it up to its origination in 
time, place, and circumstance, as all other historical facts 
may be traced. 

Upon this ground, the doctrines become facts, and we 
are no longer called on to believe, but to investigate and 
examine. We are permitted, fearlessly to apply the rules 
of criticism and evidence, by which we measure the credi- 
bility of all other facts. 

The time assigned as that of the historical origination 
of Christianity, is, the three or four first centuries of the 
prevalence and notoriety of a system of theology under 
that name; reckoning from the reign of the Roman 
Emperor Augustus, to its ultimate and complete estab- 
lishment under Constantine the Great. 

Any continuance of its history after this time, is 
unnecessary to the purpose of an investigation of its 
evidences ; as any proof of its existence before tliis time, 
would certainly be fatal to the origination challenged 
for it. 

The place assigned as that of the historical origination 
of this religion, is, the obscure and remote province of 
Judea, which is about equal in extent of territory to the 


DEP114ITION8. 5 

priDcipality of Wales^ being one hundred and sixty miles 
in length, trom Dan to Beersheba, and forty six miles in 
brea4th, from Joppa to Bethlehem, between 35 and 96 
degrees east longitude from Greenwich, and between 31 
and 33 degrees south latitude, in nearest coasting upon 
the eastern extrebiity of the Mediterranean sea, and in the 
neighbourhood of Egypt, Arabia, Phoenicia, and Syria.* 

The circumstances assigned as those of the his- 
torical basis of this religion, are., that in the reigns of the 
Roman Emperors Augustus and Tiberius, and in the pro- 
vince of Judea, a Jew, of the lower order of that lowest 
and most barbarous of all the subjects of the Roman 
empire, arose into notoriety among his countrymen, from 
the circumstance of leaving his ordinary avocation as a 
labouring mechanic, and travelling on foot from village 
to village in that little province, affecting to cure diseases ; 
that he preached the doctrines, or some such, as are as- 
cribed to him in the New Testament ; and that he gave 
himself out to be some extraordinary personage : but fail- 
ing in his attempt to gain popularity, he was convicted 
as a malefactor, and pubUcly executed, under the pre- 
sidency and authority of the Roman procurator, Pontius 
Pilate. This extraordinary person was called Jesus or 
Joshua, a name of ordinary occurrence among the 
Jewish clan; and from the place of his nativity, or of 
his more general residence, he is designated as Jesus op 
Nazareth : the obscurity of his parentage, or his equi- 
vocal legitimacy having left him without any name or 
designation of his family or descentf 

These are circumstances which fall entirely within the 
scale of rational probability, and draw for no more than an 
ordinary and indifferent testimony of history, to command 
the mind's assent. The mere relation of any historian, 
living near enough to the time supposed, to guarantee the 
probability of his competent information on the subject, 
would have been entitled to our acquiescence. We could 
have had no reason to deny or to doubt, what such an 
historian could have had no motive to feign or to exag- 

* ** The geography of Palestine lies in a narrow compass. It comprises a 
tract of country of nearly 200 miles In length, in its full extent, from the 
riter of Erypt south of Gaza to the furthest bounds towards Damascus, and 
perhaps ofmorethan 100 in breadth, including Perea, from the Mediterranean 
eastward to the desert Arabia/' — Elslby. 

f Being, a$ wai tupposed^ the son of Joseph, Luke iv. 23. It wa^no mat- 
ter of supposition that his mother had yielded to the embraces of 7^ *)33 
Gabriel ; that is, literally, the man of God, Lulie i. SB. 


gerate. The proof even to demonstratioD, of these cir- 
cunuitancesy would constitute no step or advance towards 
the proof of the truth of the Christian religion ; while the 
absence of a sufficient degree of evidence to render* even 
these circumstances unquestionable^ must, a fortiori, be 
fatal to the credibility of the still less credible circum- 
stances founded upon them. 

If there be no absolute certainty that such a man ex-> 
iated, still less can there be any proof that such and such 
were his actions, as have been ascribed to him. Those who 
might have reasons or prejudices to induce them to deny 
that such and such were the actions ascribed to such a per- 
son, could have none to deny or to conceal the mere fact 
of his existence as a man. To this effect, the testimony 
of enemies is as good as that of friends. One competent 
historian, (if such can be adduced), speaking of Jesus of 
Nazareth as an impostor, would be as unexceptionable a 
witness to the fact of his existence, as one who should 
assert every thing that hath ever been asserted of him. 

The autfientic and unsophisticated testimony of 
Cblsus, that Jesus of Nazareth wrought miracles by the 
power of magic ; though it be no proof that Jesus of 
Nazareth wrought miracles by the power of magic, and 
no proof that Jesus of Nazareth wrought miracles, yet as 
far as it avails, it avails to the proof of the conviction 
of Celsus, that such a person as Jesus of Nazareth really 
existed.* We emphatically say such a person as Jesus 
of Nazareth ; because the name Jesus being as common 
among the Jews, as John or Thomas among Christians ; 
nothing hinders but there might have been some dozen, 
score, or hundred Jesuses of Nazareth; so that proof 
(if it could be adduced) of the existence of any one of 
these, unless coupled with an accompanying proof that 
that one was tlie Jesus of Nazareth distinguished from 
all others of that designation, by the circumstance of hav- 
ing been *' crucified under Pontius Pilate," would be no 
proof of the existence of the Jesus of the Gospel, of 
whose identity the essential predicates are, not alone the 
name Jestis, and the place Nazareth,hikt the characteristic 
distinction of crucifixion. 

Still less, and further off than ever from any absolute 
identification with the Jesus of the Gospel, is the regal 

* It roust never be forgotten, that we hiTe no testimony of CeUus, but only 
the teitimony which Origen has fathered on him : which is a very different 


tiile Christ,* or tlie Anointed, which was not only held 
by all the kings of Israel, but so commonly assumed by 
all sorts of impostors, conjurors, and pretenders to super- 
natural communications, that the very claim to it, is in 
the gospel itself, considered as an indication of impos- 
ture, and a reason and rule for withholding our credence : 
there being no rule in that gospel more distinct^ than, that 
** if any man shall say to you, lo^ here is Christ, or lo,he 
is there, believe him not/' Mark xiv. 21. No reason more 
explicit, than, that " many false Christs should arise,*' 
Matt. xxiv. 24, Luke xxi, 8 ; and no statement more 
definitive, than that, when one of his immediate disciples 
applied that title to the Jesus of the gospel, he himself 
disclaimed it, '^ and straitly charged and commanded them 
to tell no man that thing," Luke ix. 2l,t Matt. xyi. 29. 

So that should authentic and probable history present 
us with a record of the existence of a Christ, pretending 
to a supernatural commission : we should have but that 
one chance /or, against the many chances against the 
identity of such a Christ with the person of the Jesus of 

Should authentic history present us even with a Christ 
who was CRUCIFIED, though such a record would cer- 
tainly come within the list of very striking coincidences, 
in relation to the evangelical story ; yet as we certainly 
know that Christ was one of the most ordinary titles 
that religious impostors were wont to assume, and Cru- 
cifixion, an ordinary punishment consequent on detected 
imposture, a Christ crucified, would by no means 
identify the " Jesus Christ, and Him crucified/' of the 
New Testament. 

The testimony of Tacitus however, which we shall 
consider in its chronological order, purports to be more 
specific than this, and to come up nearly to the fall 
amount of the predications necessary to establish the iden- 
tification required '' Christ, who was put to death under the 
Procurator Pontius Pilate^X This is either genuine, 

* ETen the heathen Prince Cyrus, is called, by Isaiah, the Christ of God. 
—Isaiah xlv. 1. 

t This is not the usaal sense given to these words, but it is borne ont by 
bis questions to the Pharisees, *' What thinit ye of Christ? whose son is he?-' 
Matt. xxii. 42. A mode of speal&ing that no man could use with reference to 

^X It wants only the addition of the name, Jesus. It is however hardly 
likely that two claimants of the name Christ, should have been erucifled niider 
'im lune goTernor. 


aathentic^ and valid evidence to the full extent to which 
it purports to extend ; or it is the forgery of a wonder- 
fully adroit and well-practised sophisticator. 

The extent of its purport will be matter of subsequent 
investigation. Our respect for it, in the present stage of 
of our process^ stands in guarantee of our willingness and 
desire to receive and admit whatever bears the character 
of that sort of rational evidence^ which is admitted on all 
other questions ; while we lay to the line and the plummet^ 
that irremeable and everlasting border of distinction that 
separates the bright focus of truth and certainty, from the 
misty indistinctness and confusion of fallacy and fable. 

But further off, even to an infinite remoteness from any 
designation or reference to the person of the crucified 
Jesus, arc the complimentary and idolatrous epithets of 
honour or of worship, which the heathen nations, from the 
remotest antiquity, were in the habit of applying to thpir 
gods, demigods, and heroes, who from the various services 
which they were believed to have rendered to mankind, 
were called saviours of the world, redeemers of mankind, 
physicians of souls, &c., and addressed by every one of 
the doxologies, even, not excepting one of those which 
Christian piety has since confined and appropriated to the 
Jewish Jesus. 

Nor are any of the supernatural, or extraordinary cir- 
cumstances, which either with truth or without it, are 
asserted or believed of the man of Nazareth, at all cha- 
racteristic or distinctive of that person, from any of the 
innumerable host of heaven-descended, virgin-bom, won- 
der-working sons of God, of whom the like supernatural 
and extraordinary circumstances were asserted and be- 
lieved, with as great faith, and with as little reason. 

To have been the whole world's desideratum, to have 
been foretold by a long series of undoubted prophecies, 
to have been attested by a glorious display of indisput- 
able miracles, to have revealed the most mystical doc- 
trines, to have acted as never man acted, and to have 
suffered as never man suffered, were among the most 
ordinary credentials of the gods and goddesses with 
which Olympus groaned. 

As our business in this treatise is, with stubborn fact 
and absolute evidence, 1 shall subjoin so much of the 
Christian creed as is absolutely and unquestionably of 
Pagan origin, and which, though not found as put toge- 
ther in this precise formulary, is certainly to be deduced 



from previoasly existing Pagan writings. ITuit only, 
which could not, or would not, have expressed the 
fair sense of any fonu of Pagan faith, can be pecu- 
liarly Christian. That only which the Christian finds 
that he has to say, of which a worshipper of the gods 
could not have said the same or the like before him, ^is 



The Christian Creed, 

1. 1 believe in God the Fa- 
ther Almighty, maker of Lea- 
ven and earth. 

2. And in Jesus Christ his 
only Kon our Lord, who was 
conceived by the Holy Spirit. 

3. Born of the Virgin Mary. 

4. Suffered under Pontius 

5. Was crucified. 

6. Dead and buried. 

7. He descended into hell. 

8. The third day he rose 
again from the dead. 

9. He ascended into heaven. 

10. And sitteth at the right 
hand of God the Father Al- 

11. From whence he shall 
eome to judge the quick and 
the dead. 

12. I believe in the Holy 

13. The Holy Catholic 

14. The Communion of 

The Pagan Creed. 

I believe in God the Father 
Almighty, maker of heaven 
and earth. 

And in Jasius* Christ his 
only son our Lord, who was 
conceived by the Holy Spirit. 

Born of the Virgin Electra. 

Suffered under (whom ii 
might be,) 

Was struck by a thunder- 

Dead and buried. 

He descended into hell. 

The third day he rose again 
from the dead. 

He ascended into heaven. 

And sitteth at the right hand 
of God the Father Almighty. 

From whence he shall come 
to judge the quick and the 

1 believe in the Holy Ghost 

The Holy Catholic Divinity. 
The Communion of Saints. 

15. The forgiveness of sins. The forgiveness of sins. 

* ** Jasiusque Pator, genus' a quo priiici|>e uustrum." And father Jafiiuff, 
fir<iB which Prince our race is dericcnded. — Virgil, 



16. The resurrection of the 

17. And the life everlasting. 

This creed, though not to be 
found in this form in the Chris- 
tian Scriptures, is evidently de- 
ducible from them as their 
sense and purport. 

'* This creed still bears the 
name of the Apostle's Creed, 
From the fourth century down- 
wards it was almost generally 
considered as a production of 
the Apostles. AU^ however, 
who have the least knowledge 
of antiquity, look upon this 
opinion as entirely false and 
destitute of all foundation. 
There is much more reason in 
the opinion of those who think 
that this creed was not all 
composed at once, but from 
small beginnings was imper- 
ceptibly augmented, in propor- 
tion to the growth of heresy, 
and according to the exigen- 
cies and circumstances of the 
church, from which it was de- 
signed to banish the errors that 
duly arose.''— Mosheim, vol. i. 

p.H6, U7. 

The immortality of the soul. 
And the life everlasting. 

This creed, though not to be 
found in this form in the Pagan 
Scriptures, is evidently deduci- 
ble from them as their sense 
and purport 

The reader is to throw into 
this scale, an equal quantity of 
allowance and apology to that 
claimed by the advocate of 
Christianity for the opposite. 
He will only observe that on 
this side, apology and pallia- 
tion for a known and acknow- 
ledged imposture and forgery 
for so many ages palmed upon 
the world, is not needed. 

It is not the Pagan creed 
that was imposed upon man- 
kind, under a false superscrip- 
tion, and ascribed to an autho- 
rity from which it was known 
not to have proceeded. Whe- 
ther a church, which stands 
convicted of having forged its 
creed, would have made any 
scruple of forging its gospels ; 
is a problem that the reader 
will solve according to the in- 
fluence of prejudice or proba- 
bility on his mind. 


As then, the so called Apostle's Greedy is admitted to 
have been written by no such persons as the Apostles^ 
and with respect to the high anthority which has for so 
many ages been claimed for it, is a convicted imposture 
and forgery ; the equity of rational evidence will allow 
weight enough, even to a probable conjecture, to overthrow 
all Siat remains of its pretensions. The probability is, 
that it is really a Pagan document, and of Pagan origi- 
nation; since, even after the trifling alteration and sub- 
stitution of one name perhaps for another, to make it 
subserve its new application, it yet exhibits a closer resem- 


blance to its Pagan stock, than to the Christian stem on 
^hich it has been engrafted. 

By a remarkable oversight of the keepings and congmi- 
ties of the system, the Christian creed has omitted to 
call for our belief of the miracles or prophecies which 
constitute its evidence, or for our practice of the duties 
which should be the test of its utility. 

If then, as the learned and judicious Jeremiah Jones, 
in his excellent treatise on the canonical authority of the 
New Testament, most justly observes, '^ In order to es- 
tablish the canon of the Mew Testament, it be of ab- 
solute necessity that the pretences of all other books to 
canonical authority be first examined and refuted:"* 
much more must it be absolutely necessary to establish 
the paramount and distinctive challenges of Christianity, 
that we should be able to refute and overthrow all the 
pretences of previously existing religions, by such a co- 
gency and fairness of argument, as in being fatal to them, 
shall admit of no application to this, which battering 
down their air-built castles, shall, when brought to play 
with equal force on Christianity, leave its defences un- 
shaken and its beauty unimpaired. 



It is manifestly unworthy of any cause, in itself con- 
taining an intrinsic and independent excellence, that its 
advocates should condescend to set it off by a foil, or to 
act as if they thought it necessary to decry and disparage 
the pretensions of others, in order to magnify and exidt 
their own. It is certain that the vileness of falsehood 
can add nothing to the glory of truth. Showing the va- 
rious systems of heathen idolatry to be, how vile soever, 
would be adducing neither evidence nor even presumption 
for the proof of the divinity of a system of religion that 
was not so vile, or even if you please, say infinitely supe- 
rior; as a beautiful woman would certainly feel it to be 
but an ill compliment to her beauty, to have it constantly 
obtruded upon her observance, how hideously deformed 
and monstrously ugly were those, than whom she was so 
much more beautiful. 

♦ Vol, I. p. 16. Sfo. Ed. 


As it would not be fair to take ap our notion of the 
Christian religion, from the lowest and most ignorant of 
its professors, and still less, perhaps, to estimate its 
merits, by the representations which its known and 
avowed enemies would be likely to give ; the balance of 
equal justice on the other side, will forbid our forming our 
estimate of the ancient paganism from the misconceptions 
of its unworthy votaries, or the interested detractions and 
exaggerations of its Christian opponents. 

The only just and honourable estimate will be that 
which shall judge of paganism, as Christians would wish 
their own religion to be judged — ^by its own absolute docu- 
ments, by the representations of its advocates, and the 
admissions of its adversaries. 

When it is borne in mind, that a supernatural origin- 
ation or divine authority is not claimed for these 
systems of theology, there can be no occasion to fear 
their rivalry or encroachment on systems founded on such 
a claim ; and still less, to decry, vituperate, and scan- 
dalize these, as any means of exalting or magnifying 
those. There cannot be the least doubt, that in dark and 
barbarous ages, the rude and unlettered part of mankind 
would grossly pervert the mystical or allegorical sense, 
if such there were, in the forms of religion propounded 
to their observance or imposed on their simplicity ; while 
it is impossible, that those enlighted and philosophical 
characters, who have left us in their writings the most un- 
doubted evidence of the greatest shrewdness of intellect, 
extent of inquiry, and goodness of heart, should have un- 
derstood their mythology in no better or higher signifi- 
cancy than as it was understood by the ignorant of their 
own persuasion, or would be represented by their ene- 
mies, who had the strongest possible interest in defaming 
and decrying it. When the worst is done in this way, 
Christianity would be but little the gainer by being 
weighed in the same scales. Should we be allowed to 
fix on the darkest day of her eleven hundred years of dark 
ages, and to pit the grossest notions of the grossest igno- 
rance of that day, as specimens of Christianity ; against 
the views which Christians have been generally pleased 
to give as representations of paganism ; how would they 
abide the challenge, '' look on this picture and on this V 
Those doctrines only, of which no form or forms of the 
previously existing paganism could ever pretend the same 
or the like doctrines, can be properly and distinctively 



called Christian. That degree of excellence, whose very 
lowest stage is raised above the very highest acme of 
what is known &nd admitted to have been no more than 
human, can alone put in a challenge to be regarded as 
divine. Thai which was not known before, is that only 
which a subsequent revelation can have taught. 

To justify the claims, therefore, of such a subsequent 
revelation, we must make the full allowance, and entirely 
strike out of the equation, all quantities estimated to their 
ftillest and utmost appreciation, which are, and have 
been claimed as the property of pre-existent systems ; 
and as they were not divine, while it is pretended that 
this w, the discovery of a resemblance between the one 
and the other, can only be feared by those who are con- 
scious that diey are making a false pretence. Resem- 
blance to a counterfeit is, in this assay, proof of a coun- 
terfeit. Brass may sometimes be brought to look like 
gold, but the pure gold had never yet the ring and imper- 
fections of any baser metal. 

At the time alleged as that of the birth of Jesus, all na* 
tions were living in the peaceful profession and practice 
of the several systems of religious faith which they had, 
as nations or as families, derived from their ancestors, in 
an antiquity lying far beyond the records of historical 
commemoration. Christians generally claim for this 
epocha of time the truly honourable distinction of being 
the pacific age.'"' The benign influence of letters and 
philosophy, was at this time extensively diffused through 
countries which had previously lain under the darkest 
ignorance ; and nations, whose manners had been savage 
and barbarous, were civilized by the laws and commerce 
of the Romans. The Christian writer Orosius^ maintains 
that the temple of Janus was then shut, and that wars 
and discords had absolutely ceased throughout the world : 
which, though an allegorical, and very probably an hy- 
perbolical representation of the matter, is at least an 
honourable testimony to the then state of the heathen 

The notion of one supreme being was universal. No 
calumny could be more egregious, than that which charges 
the pagan world with ever having. lost sight of that 
notion, or compromised or surrendered its paramount 
importance, in all the varieties and modifications of pagan 

* Moiheim, Vol. 1. Chap. 1. 


piety.* This predominant notion (admits Mosheim) 
showed itself, even through the darkness of the grossest 

The candour which gives the Protestant Christian 
credit for his professed belief in the unity of God, even 
against the conflict of his own assertion of believing at 
the same time in a trinity of three persons, which are each 
of them a Grod ; the fairness which respects ti^e dis- 
tinction which the Catholic Christian challenges between 
his Latria and Doulia, his worship of the Almighty, and 
bis veneration of the images of the saints, will never 
suppose that the divinity of the inferior deities was 
understood in any sense of disparagement to the alone 
supreme and undivided godhead of their ** one first — one 
greatest — only Lord of adl." 

The evidences of Christianity must be in a labouring 
condition indeed, if they require us to imagine that a 
Cicero, Tacitus, or Pliny were worshippers of gods of 
wood and stone ; or to force on our apprehensions such a 
violence, as that we should imagine that the mighty mind 
that had enriched the world with Euclid's Elements of 
Geometry, could have bowed to the deities of Euclid's 
Egypt, and worshipped leeks and crocodiles. 

Orthodoxy itself will no longer suggest its resistance to 
the only faidiful and rational account of the matter, so 
elegantly given us by Gibbon.f '^ The various modes of 
worship which prevailed in the Roman world, were all 
considered, by Uie people as equally true, — by the phi- 
losopher, as equaUy false, — and by the magistrate, as 
equally useful. 

'^ Both the interests of the priests, and the credulity of 
the people were sufficiently respected. In their writings 
and conversation, the philosophers of antiquity asserted 
the independent dignity of reason; but they resigned 
their actions to the commands of law and custom. View- 
ing with a smile of pity and indulgence the various errors 
of the vulgar, they diligently practised the ceremonies of 
their fathers, devoutly frequented the temples of the 
gods ; and sometimes condescending to act a part on the 
theatre of superstition, they concealed the sentiments of 

* All the inferior deitiM in Homer, are represented at thas addressing 
the tvproM Jove : — 

** Oh first and greatest, GOD! by gods adored. 
We own thy power, our father and our lord.** — Iliad. 

t DmUm and Fall of the Roman Empire, toI. i. chap. 2. p. 46. 


an atheist under the sacerdotal robe. Reasoners of such 
a temper were scarcely inclined to wrangle about their 
respective modes of faith, or of worship. It was indiffer- 
ent to them what shape the folly of the multitude might 
choose to assume ; and they approached with the same 
inward contempt and the same external reverence to the 
altars of the Lybian, the Olympian, or the Capitoline 

It was a common adage among the Greeks, davfiara 
fiwpoic — Miracles for fools; and the same proverb 
obtained among the shrewder Romans, in the saying, 
Vulgus vult decipi— decipiatur, '' The common people 
like to be deceived— deceived let them be." 

The Christian, perhaps, may boast of his sincerity, but 
a moment's thought wUl admonish him how little virtue 
there is in such a quality, when it forces a necessity of 
hypocrisy on others. Sincerity should be safe on both 
sides of die hedge. It was never taken for a virtue in an 

'^ Every nation then had its respective gods, over which 
presided one more excellent than the rest ;" and the de- 
gree of this pre-eminency, as versified by Pope from 
the 6th book of the Iliad, is an absolute vindication of 
the Pagan world from the charge of the grosser and 
more revolting sense of Polytheism. They were virtually 
Deists. None of their divinities were thought to ap- 
proach nearer to the supremacy of the father of gods and 
men, than the various orders of the Cherubim and Sera- 
phim, to the God and Father of J esus Christ, 

*' Who but behold his utmost skirts of gloiy. 

And far off, his steps adore.*' 

So in the language of their Iliad (and language has nothing 
more sublime) we read the august challenge : — 

** Let down our golden everlasting chain, 
Whose strong embrace holds heaven, and earth, and main ; 
Strive all of mortal or immortal birth. 
To drag by this the thunderer down to earth. 
Ye strive in vain. If I but lift this hand, 
I heave the heavens, the ocean, and the land ; 
For such I reign unbounded and above. 
And such are men, and gods, compared to Jove.** 

Mosheim, upon an evident misunderstanding, assumes 
that their supreme deity, in comparison to whom the 

* Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 1, p. 40, 60. 


gods and goddesses were as far off from an absolute 
divinity, as ever were the guardian angels and tutelary 
saints of Christianity ; was himself believed to be subject 
to the rigid empire of the faieSy or what the philosophers 
called eternal necessity. But the word fate, by its deri- 
vation from the natural indication of command — Fiat ! 
Be it so; may satisfy us, that nothing more was meant, 
than that the supreme deity was bound by his own en- 
gagements, that his word was irrevocable, and that all 
his actions were determined and guided by the everlast- 
ing law of righteousness, and conformed to the counsels 
and sanctions of his own unerring mind. So that He, 
and He cdone, could say with truth, 

** Necessity and Chance 

Approach roe not, and what i will — is fatb.** 

" One thing, indeed," says our authority, (Mosheim), 
" appears at first sight very remarkable — that the variety 
of religions and gods in the heathen world, neither pro- 
duced wars nor dissentions among the different nations/'* 
A diligent and candid investigation of historical data will 
demonstrate, that from this general rule, there is no valid 
and satisfactory instance of exception. The Greeks may 
have carried on a war to recover lands that had been 
distrained from the possession of their priests; and the 
Egyptians may have revenged the slaughter of their 
crocodiles; but these wars never proposed as their 
object, the insolent intolerance of forcing their modes 
of faith or worship on other nations. They were not 
offended at their neighbours for serving other divinities, 
but they could not bear that theirs, should be put to 
death. And if, perhaps, where we read the word divini- 
ties, we should understand it to mean nothing more than 
favourites; and instead of saying that people worshipped 
such and such things, that they were excessively or fool- 
ishly attached to them ; considering that such language 
owes its original modification to Christian antipathies, it 
might be brought back to a nearer affinity to probability, 
as well as to charity. An Egyptian might be as fond of 
onions, as a Welshman of leeks, a Scot of thistles, or an 
Irishman of shamrock, without exactly taking their gar- 
bage for omnipotence.f 

* Their religion had not made fools of them. 

i" Who tJiat wished to be a thriving wooer, ever hesitated to drop on his 
knee and adore hit mistress ? ** With my body I thee worship.*'-— .Vafri- 
mtmUU Servicf. 



** £ach nation suffered its neighbours to follow their 
own method of worship, to adore their own gods, to 
enjoy their own rites and ceremonies, and discovered no 
displeasure at their diversity of sentiments in religious 
matters. They all looked upon the world as one great 
empire, divided into various provinces, over every one 
of which, a certain order of divinities presided, and that, 
therefore, none could behold with contempt the gods of 
other nations, or force strangers to pay homage to theirs. 

The Romans exercised this toleration in the amplest 
manner. As the sources from which all men's ideas are 
derived, are the same, namely, from their senses, there 
being no other inlet to the mind but thereby, there is 
nothing wonderful in the general prevalence of a same- 
ness of the ideas of human beings in all regions and all 
ages of the world. The affections of fear, grief, pain, 
hope, pleasure, gratitude, &c., are as common to man as 
his nature as a man, and could not fail to produce a cor- 
responding similarity in the objects of his superstitious 
veneration. To have nothing in common with the 
already established notions of mankind, to bear no fea- 
tures of resemblance to their hallucinations and follies, to 
be nothing like them, to be to nothing so unlike, should 
be the essential predications and necessary credentials of 
the " wisdom which is from above." 

It has, however, been alleged by learned men, with 
convincing arguments of probability, " that the prin- 
cipal deities of all the Gentile nations resembled each 
other extremely, in their essential characters ; and if so, 
their receiving the same names could not introduce much 
confusion into mythology, since they were probably 
derived from one common source. If the Thor of the 
ancient Celts, was the same in dignity, character, and 
attributes with the Jupiter of the Greeks and Romans, 
where was the impropriety of giving him the same name f 
Dies Jovis is still the Latin form for our Thor's day. 
When the Greeks found in other countries deities that 
resembled their own, they persuaded the worshippers of 
those foreign gods that their deities were the same that 
were honoured in Greece, and were, indeed, themselves 
convinced that this was the case. In consequence of this, 
the Greeks gave the names of their gods to those of other 
nations, and the Romans in this followed their example. 
Hence we find the names of Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, 
Venus, 8cc., frequently mentioned in the more recent 



monuments and inscriptions which have been found 
amongf the Gauls and Germans, though the ancient in- 
habitants of those countries had worshipped no gods 
under such denominations/' — Note in Moshnm. 

To have been goddess-born, heaven-descended; to have 
*^ lived and died as none could live and die/' to have been 
believed to have done and suffered great things for the 
service of mankind, but above all, to have propitiated 
the wrath of the Superior Deity, and to have conquered 
the invisible authors of mischief, in their behalf, was such 
an overwhelming draft on the tender feelings, the excite- 
ment of which is one of the strongest sources of pleasure 
in our nature, that the best hearts and the weakest heads 
never gave place to the coolness and apathy of scepti* 
cism. Not a doubt was entertained that a similar seriecl 
of adventures was proof of one and the same hero, and 
that the Grecian Apollo, the Phoenician Adonis, the 
iBsculapius of Athens, the Osiris of Egypt, the Christ of 
India, were but various names of tiie selfsame deity; so 
that nothing was so easy at any time, as the business of 
conversion. Not incredulity, but credulity, is the charac- 
teristic propensity of mankind. 

A disposition to adopt the religious ceremonies of other 
nations, to multiply the objects of faith, to listen with 
eagerness to any thing that was offered to them under a 
profession of novelty, to believe every pretence to divine 
revelation, and to embrace every creed, presents itself in 
the history of almost every society of men, and is found 
as inalienable a characteristic of uncivilized, or but par- 
tially civilized man, as cunning is of the fox, and courage 
of the lion. Unbelief is no sin that ignorance was ever 
capable of being guilty of; to suspect it of the Gentile 
nations previous to the Christian era, is to outrage all 
inferences of our own experience, and to suppose the 
human race in former times to have been a different species 
of animals from any of which the wonder-loving and credu- 
lous vulgar of our own days could be the descendants. 

Of all miracles that could possibly be imagined, the 
miracle of a miracle not being believed, would be the 
most miraculous, the most incongruous in its character, 
and the nearest to the involving a contradiction in its 
terms. If proof of a truth so obvious were not super- 
fluous, the Christian might be commended to the consi- 
deration of authorities, to whose decision he is trained 
and disposed to submit. 


His Paul of Tarsus finds^ in the city of Athens^ an altar 
erected to the Unknown Oods;* and taking what Le Clerc 
considers a justifiable liberty with the inscription, com- 
pliments the citizens on such a proof of their predisposi- 
tion to receive the God whom he propounded to them, or 
any other, as well without evidence as with it, and to be 
oonTMTted without putting him to the trouble of a miracle. 
Acts xvii. 23. 

The inhabitants of Lystra, upon only hearing of the 
most equivocal and suspicious case of wonderment that 
could well be imagined, even that a lame beggar, who 
migfat have been hired for the purpose, or probably had 
never been lame at all, had been cured, or imagined him- 
self cured, by two entire strangers, itinerant Tberapeutse, 
or tramping quack-doctors, without either inquiry or 
doubt, set up the cry, ^' That Jupiter and Mercury were 
come down from heaven in the shape of these quack-doc- 
tors ;" and with all the doctors themselves could do to 
check the intensity of their devotion, ** scarce restrained 
Umf the people that they had md done sacrifice** — Acts 
xiv. 18. ^ 

* '* Quamvi* plurali numero lef^uretnr iotcriptio tgyiwarots dcou, rccte de 
Deo Ignoto, locuius est Paulas. Quia plurali uumero continctur singulari^.*' 
—Cleric. H. G. A. 52. p. 874. There is suflScient evidence, however, that 
Paul read the inscription correctly ; so that the commentator's ready quibble 
is not called for. 

The various translations given of this text, make a good specimen of the 
difl&cttlty of coming at the real sense of any ancient legends. 


ISfrmBtis S^ 6 UavXos cy fit<ru tb aptiB- Stans autem Paulus in medio Areo- 
•ivyia c^ aifUpts A^moi Kwra wamams pAgi* >it, Viri Athenensis, ]>er omnia 
l>iim>a^iorfgy«pgf vyMs d^vpw. quasi superstitiores vos aspicio. 

1. DK. LARDNER's translation. 

'* Paul, therelbre, standing up in the midst of the Areopagus, said, Ye 
men of Athens, I perceive that ye are in all things very religious/* 


^ Then Paul stood in the midst of the court of Areopagus, and said, Ye 
men of Athens, I perceive that ye are exceedingly addicted to the wershfp 
of demooa.'* 


*« Ye men of Athens, 1 perceive that in all things ye are somewhat too 


" Ye iiiea of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitiou<>.*' 
These various translators, however, did not mean exactly to discover, that 

religion and superstition were convertible terms. — Six, is one thing, and 

half a dflzen it another. 

c 2 




The grand exception to the hannonious universalism of 
religions, and to that entire prevalence^ as far as religion 
was concerned^ of peace on earth and good will among 
men/' which arose from the practical conviction of a 
sentiment which had passed into a common proverb^ 
*' Deorum injuria, Diis cuRiE," that" The wrongs of 
the gods were the concerns of the gods" occurred among 
a melancholy and misanthropic horde of exclusively 
superstitious barbarians, who, from their own and the 
best account that we have of them, were colonized from 
their captivity, by a Babylonian prince, on the sterile 
soil of Judea, about twenty-three hundred years ago; 
and, by the exclusive, unsocial, and uncivilized charac- 
ter of their superstition^^ere exposed to frequent wan 
and final dispersion. The exclusive character of their 
superstition, and the constant intermarriage with their 
own caste or sect, have, to this day, preserved to them, in 
an countries, a distinct character. These barbarians, who 
resented the consciousness of their inferiority in the scale 
of rational being, by an invincible hatred of the whole 
human race, being without wit or invention to devise to 
themselves any original system of theology, adopted from 
time to time tbe various conceits of the various nations, 
by whom their rambling and predatory tribes had been 
held in subjugation. They plagiarized the religious 
legends of the nations, among whom their characteristic 
idleness and inferiority of understanding bad caused 
them to be vagabonds ; and pretended that the furtive 
patch-work was a system of theology intended by heaven 
for their exclusive benefit There is, however, nothing 
extraordinary in this ; the miserable and the wretched 
always seek to console themselves for the absence of real 
advantages, by an imaginary counterbalance of spiritual 
privilege. An' let them be the caterers, they shall always 
be the favourites of Omnipotence, and their afflictions in 
this world, shall be to be overpaid with a ^' far more 
exceeding and eternal weight of glory," in another. 
In some instances it will be found, that the means of 
detecting the original idea has been washed down the 


Stream of time. The Jewa, vfho, probably, always were, 
as they are at present, the old'clothes-men of the world, 
have had but little difficulty in scratching up a sufficient 
freshness of nap upon borrowed or stolen theology, to 
disguise its original character. Very often, however, 
has their idleness betrayed their policy, and left us 
scarcely so much as an sdteration of names to put us to 
the trouble of a doubt. 

Tliey give us the story of the sacrifice of Ipthegenia, 
the daughter of Agamemnon, as an original legend of 9 
judge of Israel, who had immolated his daughter tt 
Yahouh, or Jao, without so much as respecting the wish 
to be deceived, not even being at the pains to vary the 
name of the heroine of the fable. By a division of the 
syUables into two words, Ipthi-genia is literally Jeptha's 
daughter ; and even the name of Mos£S himself, as it 
stands in the Greek text, is composed of the same 
consonant letters as Misbs, the Arabian name of Bac- 
chus, of whom precisely the same adventures were 
related, and believed, many ages before there existed a 
race known on earth as the nation of Israel, or any indi- 
vidual of that nation capable of committing either truth 
or falsehood to written documents. There have been 
dancing bears, sagacious pigs, and learned horses in the 
world, but the Jews are as innocent as any of them of 
the faculty of original invention. 

Their strong man (Samson) carrying away the gates of 
Gasa, is scarcely a various reading from the story of 
Hercules' pillars at Gades, Cades, or Cadiz. 

That this melancholy race of rambling savages had 
derived the principal features of their theology from the 
deities of Egypt, is demonstrable from the literal identity 
of the name of the god of Memphis, Jao, with that of 
the boasted god of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, 
who are each of them believed to have been either natives 
or very long residents of that country. 

Moses himself, on the face of their own report, was 
confessedly an Egyptian priest. The Jewish Elohim 
were the decans of the Egjrptians ; the same as the genii 
of the months and planets among the Persians and Chal- 
deans ; and Jao, or Yahouh, considered merely as one 
of these beings generically called Elohim or Alehim, 
appears to have been only a national or topical deity. 
We find one of the presidents of the Jewish horde, 
negociating with a king of the Amorites, precisely on 


these teims of a common understanding between them. 
'' Wilt not thon possess that which Chemosh, thy Alehim, 
giveth thee to possess ? So whomsoever Jao, our Alehim, 
shall drive out from before us, them will we possess.'** 

Nor is it at all concealed, that the power of J Ao, as much 
as of any other topical god, was confined to the province 
over which he presided. ** The Jao Alehim of Israd, 
fought for Israelyf and Jao drave out the inhabitants of 
the mountain ; but could not drive out the inhabitants of 
the valley, because they had chariots of iron.;):" The 
God of Israel was no match for the tutelary deities of 
the valley. The first commandment of the decalogue 
involves a virtual recognition of the existence, and rival, 
if not equal claims of other deities. ** Th&ti shalt have 
none other gods but me,'' is no mandate that could have 
issued from one who had been entirely satisfied of his 
own supremacy, and that those to whom he had once 
revealed himself, were in no danger of giving a preference 
to the idols of the Gentiles. To say nothing of the highest 
implied compliment to those idols, in the confession of 
Jao, that he was jealous of his people's attachment. '' / 
the Lord thy God am a jealous God,'* Exod. xx. He was 
Lord of heaven and earth, &c. in such sense as the Empe- 
ror of China, the Grand Sultan, fltc., — by courtesy. 

It would be difiicult to imagine, and surely impossible 
to find, among all the formularies of ancient Paganism, any 
manner of speaking ascribed to their deities more truly 
contemptible, more egregiously absurd and revolting to 
common sense, than the language which their lively oracles 
put into the mouth of their deity. Sometimes he is 
described as roaring like a lion, at others as hissing like 
a snake, as burning with rage, and unable to restrain his 
own passions, as kicking, smiting, cursing, swearing, 
smelling, vomiting, repenting, being grieved at his heart, 
his fury coming up in his face, his nostrils smoking, &c. 
For which our Christian divines have invented the 
apology, ^' that these things are spoken thus, in accom- 
modation to the weakness of human conceptions," and 
av^ptamovra^iMfc AS humanly siiffering ; without, however, 
allovmig benefit of the same apology, to throw any sort of 

Salliation over the grossnesses of the literal sense of the 
^agan theology. It is weU known, that the Pagan wor- 

* Judges xi. 84. + Joshua z. 42. 

X Judges i. 19. And note welly that this Chemosh, called in I Kings xi. 7. 
thv abomination oFMosh, is nonp other than the Christian Messiah, or 8an 
•f Rtfhteoasness, of Maiachi iii. 80, or iv. 8. 


ship by no means involved such a real prostration of 
intellect^ and such an absolute surrender of the senses 
and reason, as is involved in the Christian notion of pay- 
ing divine honours. It often meant no more than a habit 
of bolding the thing so said to be worshipped^ in a par- 
ticolar degree of attachment, as many Christians carry 
alK>nt them a lucky penny, or a curious pebble, keep- 
sakes or mementos of past prosperity, or something 
which is to recall to their minds those agreeable associa- 
tions of idea, which 

*' Lingering haunt the greenest spot 
On memVy's waste." 

Thus the Egyptian's worship of onions, however at 
first view ridiculous and childish, and exposing him to 
the scorn and sarcasm both of Christian and Heathen 
satirists;* in his own view and representation of the 
matter, (which surely is as fairly to be taken into the 
account as the representations of those who would never 
give theQiselves the trouble to investigate what had onc« 
moved their laughter,) by no means implied that he took 
the onion itself to be a god, or forgot or neglected its 
Cnlinary uses as a vegetable. The respect he paid to it 
referred to a high and mystical order of astronomical 
speculations, and was purely emblematical. The onion 
presented to the eye of the Egyptian visionary, the most 
curious tjrpe in nature of the disposition and arrange- 
ment of the great solar system. " Supposing the root 
and top of the head to represent the two poles, if you 
cut any one transversely or diagonally, you will find 
it divided into the same number of spheres, including 
each other, counting from the sun or centre to the cir- 
cumference, as they knew the motions or courses of the 
orbs (or planets) divided the fluid system of the heavens 
into; and so the divisions represented the courses of 
those orbs.'' This observation of Mr. Hutchinsonf has 
since been made or borrowed by Dr. Shaw, who observes, 
that " the onion, upon account of the root of it, which 
consists of many coats enveloping each other, like the 
orbs (orbits) in the planetary system, was another of their 
sacred vegetables."! Our use of these observations, how- 

* Porram et cepe nefas violare et frar.gere niorsu. 
O sanctas gentes, qablus hsec nascuntur in hortis 
Numina I Juvenal Sat. 16. liu. 0. 1 1 . 

A tin^/orsootk^ to riolate and brwak by bUin(j (he leek and o%ion». O holy 
people, in trhoBe garden* tkene divinities are bom ! 

f Hia tvorka, vol. 4. p. 968. % Shaw's TraTvls, p. 856. 


ever^ is only to supply a demonstration that the grossest 
fonns of apparent nonsense and absurdity in which 
Paganism ever existed, were never more distressed for 
a good excuse, or the pretence of some plausible emble- 
matical and mystical sense, than Judaism, and lliat if 
we acquit the Jewish religion from the chaise of extreme 
folly, tiiere was never any religion on earth that could be 
fairly convicted of it. 

The plurality of the Hebrew word Aleim, for God, in 
the first chapter of Genesis, and in the Old Testament 
throughout, is urged by orthodox divines as an argument 
for their favourite doctrine of the Holy Trinity. 

The Jews find their text thus burthened with a sense 
which they themselves disclaim. A similar plural word — 
THE HEAVENS — expressive of precisely the same sense, 
where plucality is by no means the leading idea, is found 
in our own language, and among all nations whose ideas 
of deity were drawn as our own evidentiy are, from the 
visible heavens, the imaginary ceiling of an upper story, 
in which the Deity was supposed to reside. 

The Hebrew WD^ Skemmim, and the Chaldee H^tt^ 
Shemmai, are in like manner plural words — literally, the 
heavens, and used sjrnonymously with D^H^t^ Alehim — the 
gods — for God.* 

The pagans used the same plural words, the gods, for 
God, sdthough it was to one being alone that in the 
stricter sense that tide was applicable. We use precisely 
the same plural form, '* Heavens defend us /" synechdochi- 
cally for God defend us ! as in that beautiful and moral 
apostrophe of King Lear — 

'' — Take physic, pomp ! 

Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel. 

That thou may*st shake the superfloz to them, 

And show the keaveiu more just.** Shakspbark. 

that is, show God more just. 

This, our adherence to the Pagan phrase, happens to 
be consecrated by the text of the New Testament,t in 

* Daniel iv. 26. *' Thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee after that thou shall 
have known that the heavens do rule,'* {. e, that God, t. e. that the most 
HIGH, above our heailty doth rule. By the heavetUy says Parkhurst, are 
signified the true Aleim, or persons of Jehovah. Heb. Lex. p. 741. 1. 

f Matt. xxi. 35.— Mark xi. 30, SI . Luke xv. 18. xx. 4, 6.— John iv. 97. 

H /ScuriAcm rwy &peuwy. The kingdom of the heavens and the 

H /SairiAcia re ^ttt- kingdom of God are throughout Mat- 

thew and Mark interchangeable. 


which the kingdom of the heavens, and the kingdom of 
€rod, and Odd, and the hbavbms, are perfectly synony- 
mens, and nsed indifferently for the expression of pre- 
cisely the same sense. Not a plurality of thrbb^ then, 
nor of any definite number, was implied by that plural 
nonn used with a verb singular, in the Jewish AUhim, but 
merely that vague reference to the planets, from which 
the very name of Grod is derived,* and to which the 
primitive idea of all the multifarious modifications of 
idc^atry or piety, superstition or religion, may ultimately 
be traced. The Jews themselves are as justly chargeable 
vrith polytheism, as the nations whose spiritual advan* 
tages they affect to despise. 

llieir historian, Josephus, who lived and wrote about 
sixty years after Christ, sought in vain for the testimony 
of Egyptian authors to support the high pretensions he 
advanced. Not one has so much as mentioned the 
prodigies of Moses, or held out the least glimpse of 
probability or coincidence to his romantic tale. 

The whole fable of Moses, however, will be found in 
the Orphic verses sung in the orgies of Bacchus, as cele* 
brated in Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, and Greece, for ages 
before such a people as the Jewish nation were known 
to be in existence. (See the chapter on Bacchus, 'in this 


Christianity, however, is not so essentially connected 
vrith the Jewish religion as to stand or fall with it. 
PaJey and other of the shrewder advocates of the estab- 
lished faith have intimated their wish that the two sys- 
tems were considered as more independent of each other 
than they are generally held to be. There might be 
evidence enough left for the Christian religion, though 

* Offos which is the soarce of the ^olic dialect, or T^tin Deus, from #f« 
(ffciy, eurrere^ to run as do the planets. 

The Grecian philosophers generally believed that nature U God. No 
authors of any order of Christians whatcTer, in any of their writings, gi?e vs 
any positive idea on the subject, nor indeed any negative one, not derived 
from some or other of those philosophers. 

^* The Y^sOs of the New Testament preached only a sort of indeterminate, 
or at most, only Pharisaical deism. Those who have professed and ealM 
tbeDMelves Christians, have been hardly such characters as any rational 
mind could imagine to have been the followers of such a roaster. Animated 
only with a furious zeal against idolatry, to which YdsQs does not allnde, 
tbeae iconoclasts (image-breakert) seem to have maintained few positive 
metaphysical dogmata, till they wanted excuses for plundering from one 
Another the plunder of Paganism.*' — I take this sentence from a treatise, en- 
titled, Variout Drjinitiont of an Important Word^ p. IS., in a printed but 
unpublished work of a learned and excellent friend. 


the Mosaic dispensation were considered as altogeiber 
fabulous ; and some have thought, that the evidence of 
Christianity would gain by a dissolution of partnership ; 
and a man might be tlie better Christian, as he certainly 
would be better able to defend his Christianity^ by throw- 
ing over the whole of the Old Testament as indefensible, 
and contenting himself entirely with the sufficient guid- 
ance and independent sanctions of the New. ^' The law 
was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus 
Christ,"* is an apothegm which Christians receive as of 
the highest authority : and yet no conceivable sense can 
be found in those words, short of an indication not only 
of distinctness, but of absolute contrariety of character, 
between the two religions. '' Grace and truth came by 
Jesus Christ," in the antithesis, can imply nothing else 
than that neither grace nor truth came by Moses ; to say 
nothing of those innumerable contemptuous manners of 
speaking of the old dispensation, as '^ those weak and beg- 
garly elements^**-]; and that ** burthen which neither they nor 
their fathers were able to bear ;" J *' all that ever came 
before me are thieves and robbers ;" § in which Christ and 
the Apostles themselves refer to the religion of Moses. 
Certainly, none with whom we have to deal would ever 
care to defend Judaism, if once induced to doubt the 
independent challenges of Christianity. If this be unten* 
able, that may very well be left to shift for itself in the 
wardrobes of Holywell- street and the Minories. '^The 
lion preys not upon carcases !" 

It is unquestionable, however, that even if tlie gospel 
story were altogether a romance, and all its dramatis per- 
soMBf as connected with what is called in poetical lan- 
guage, its machinery, merely imaginary, it is still a 
romance of that character, which mixes up its fantastical 
personages with rea/ characters, and fastens events which 
never happened, speeches which were never spoken, and 
doings which were never done, on persons, times, and 
places that had a real existence, and stood in the relations 
assigned to them. So that the romance is properly dra- 
maticaly and answers to the character of such ingenious 
and entertaining fictions, as in our own days arc called 
romances of the particular century to which they are 
assigned, in which of course we have the Sir llowlands. 
Sir Olivers, and Sir Mortimers of the author's invention, 

* John i. 17. t Galat. ix. 

X Acts zf . 10. ^ John x. b. 


transactiDg buriness and holding dialogues with the Sala- 
dtns. King Richards, Henrys, and Edwards of real his- 
tory. Nor are there wanting instances of plagiarism in 
the department of fiction. A shrewd novelist will often 
aTail himself of an old story, will change the scene of 
action fh>m one country to another, throw it further back, 
tor bring it lower down, in the order of time ; and make 
the heroes of the original conceit, contemporaries and 
comrades of either an earlier or a later race of real per- 

^' Josephus, and heathen authors have mado mention 
of Herod, Archelaus, Pontius Pilate, and other persons 
of note, whose names we meet with in the Gk>spels and 
Acts of the Apostles, and have delivered nothing mate- 
rial concerning their characters, posts, and honours, that 
is different from what the writers of the New Testament 
have said of them." 

Such is the first of Dr. Lardner's arguments for the 
credibility of the gospel history, the sophism of which 
will in an instant start into observance, upon putting the 
simple questions — ^What is material? And is it no fatal 
deficiency, that they should have omitted to mention 
what they by no possibility could have omitted to men- 
tion, had the personages so spoken of been so coi^cemed 
in the gospel history, as they are therein represented to 
have been ? 

One of the most striking coincidences of the scriptural 
and profane history, is the reference to the death of Herod, 
in Acts xii. 21. 23, as compared with the account given 
by Josephus, whose words are, ^' Having now reigned 
three whole years over all Judea, Herod went to the 
city Caesarea. Here he celebrated shows in honour of 
Csesar. On the second day he came into the theatre 
dressed in a robe of silver of most curious workmanship. 
The rays of the sun, then just rising, reflected from so 
splendid a garb, gave him a majestic and awful appear- 
ance. In a short time they began in several parts of the 
theatre flattering acclamations, which proved pernicious to 
him. They called him a god, and entreated him to be pro- 
pitious to them, saying, ' Hitherto we have respected you 
as a man, but now we acknowledge you to be more than 
mortal.' The King neither reproved those persons, nor 
rejected the impious flattery. Soon after this,* casting 

* Ammcv^ Vw tw /SuAtfi'a r^i §auTa Kc^a\i}s vir€pKQd€J!ofUPOv ciScy cirx cxows 
riPM teyy^kov t< rerw cia^s tvofifaw k<uc»v ^ivai rw koi irvr^ rmf aryadutr 
ywoftvfw Ku luucofitw €(rx€v o9vyriv. — Antiq. lib. 10. c.8. sect. 2. 


his eyes upwards, he saw an owl sitting upon a rope over 
his head. He perceived it to be a messenger of evil to him, 
as it had been before of his prosperity, and was grieved at 
heart. Immediately after thiis he was affected with 
extremely violent pains in his bowels, and taming to his 
friends, in anguish said, ' I, your God, am reqmred to 
leave this world; fate instantly confuting the fidse 
applauses you have bestowed on me ; I, who have been 
called immortal, am hurried away to death ; but Grod's 
appointment must be submitted to.' These pains in his 
bowels continually tormenting him, he died on the fifth 
day, in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and of his reign 
the seventh." 

There is a curious ambiguity in the Greek word for 
messenger (angelos)j of which £usebius availing himself, 
says nothing about the owl, but gives as the text of 
Josepbus, that he beheld an angel hanging over his head upom 
a rope, and this he knew immediately to be an omen of eml.^ 
Lardner justly reproves this fault in Eusebius, but has 
no reproof for the author of the Acts of the Apostles, who 
was privileged to improve the story still farther by add- 
ing that the ansel of the Lord smote hirn, because he gave not 
God the clary, (t. e. the spangles and gaudery of his silver 
dress.) This Herod was a deputy king holding his power 
under the appointment of Caius Caligula. 

The Pharisees were a sect of self-righteous and sanc- 
timonious hypocrites, ready to play into and keep up 
any religious farce that might serve to invest them with 
an imaginary sanctity of character, and increase their 
influence over the minds of the majority, whose good 
nature and ignorance in all ages and countries, is but 
ever too ready to subscribe the claims thus made upon it 

They were the Quakers of their day, a set of commercial, 
speculating thieves, who expressed their religion in the 
eccentricity of their garb ; and, under professions of extra- 
ordinary punctiliousness and humanity, were the most 
over-reaching, oppressive, and inexorable of the human 
race. Of this sort was the apostolic chief of sinners, 
and this character he discovers through all accounts of 
his life and writings, that have entailed the curse of his 
example on mankind. 

The Sadducees were a set of materialists, who, as 
they were too sensible to be imposed on themselves, were 

** AyoKu^of 8c Ti|s fatrre K§^>aX'ns vwtptca&tlofuvov ctScy 0771X01' cvi <rxoirt<r riiws. 
T«ror ci«|^ wyrni^t kqkmv ctym euriov.—Euseb. Ecct. Hist. lib. H. c.O. B. 


tke less disposed to cajole others. They were the most 
respectable part of the Jewish community^ and by the 
infltlence of their more rational tenets and more moral 
example, served to infase that leaven of reason and 
virtiie, without wbich, the frame of society could hardly 
be held together. 

It is enough to know, in addition to the more than 
enough that every body may know, of the Mosaic insti- 
tutions, that the pretensions of the Jews, as a nation, to 
philosophy, never exceeded that of the dark and hidden 
science which they called the Cabbala, which, like their 
hidden theology, was nothing more than the Oriental 
philosophy, plagiarized and modelled to their own con- 
ceit, and a crude jumble of the various melancholy 
notions, which had forced themselves upon their minds 
m the course of their ramblings into the adjacent coun- 
tries of Egypt and Phcenicia, and the little that ignorance 
itself could not help learning, in the course of their traffic 
with the Greeks, Persians, and Arabians. 

Their sacred scriptures of the Old Testament contain 
no reference to the Platonic doctrine of a future state.* 
Though the metaphysical notion of the immortality of 
the soul, had been inculcated and embraced in India, in 
Assyria, in Egypt, and in Gaul, and was believed widi 
so influential and practical a faith, that its votaries would 
lend their money to be returned them again in the other 
world,f (a proof of sincerity less equivocal than martyr- 
dom itself.) Yet this doctrine appears to have been 
wholly unknown to the Jewish legislator, and is but 
darkly insinuated in any part of the prophetical writ- 
mgs.j: Hence the Sadducees, who, according to Jose- 
phus, respected only the authority of the Pentateuch (or 
five books of Moses), had no belief in a resurrection, angels 
or spirits, or any such chimerical hypostases. Nor does 
the Christ of the New Testament seem to have had the 
least idea of the possible existence of the soul, in a state 

* The only reward proposed for obedience to the law of God, was, thai 
attached to the fifth, which is called by the Apostle, the firut eommandmtni 
withpromiie — '' that thy days may be long in the land.*' 

t Yetas ille mos Gallorum occurrit, (says Valerias Maximus, 1.2. c. 6. 
p. 10.) (|uos nuemoria proditum est, pecunias motuas dare solitos que his, 
apod inferos redderentur. 

\ It is better for thee to enter halt into life, than ha?ing two feet to be cast 
into hell. It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one 
eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.-— Mark ix. 'Ii5.47. Here 
was no idea of heaven, or the state of the blessed, above a hospital of in« 


of separation trom the body, All his attempts to alarm 
the cowardice and weakness of his hearers, are founded 
on the assumption, that the body must accompany ' the 
soul in its anabasis to heaven, or its descent to hell, and 
indeed that there was no virtual distinction between them. 
It must, however, be admitted to be a good and valid 
apology for the omission — that none of his followers have 
been able to supply the deficiency. 



There is nothing that can be known of past ages, known 
with more unquestionable certainty, than that t/^, about, 
and immediately after the epocha of time ascribed to the 
dawning of divine light, the human mind seems generally 
to have suffered an eclipse. The arts and sciences, intel- 
ligence and virtue, were smitten with an unaccountable 
palsy. The mind of man lost all its energies, and sunk 
under a generally prevailing imbecility. We look in vain 
among the successors of Cicero, Livy, Tacitus, Horace, 
and Virgil, the statesmen, orators, and poets of the 
golden age of literature, for a continuation of the series of 
such ornaments of human nature. A blight had smitten 
the growth of men's understandings ; not only no more 
such clever men rose up, but with very few exceptions^ 
no more such men as could have appreciated the talents 
of their predecessors, or possessing so much as the rela- 
tive degree of capacity, necessary to be sensible of the 
superiority that had preceded them. After reasonings so 
just, and eloquence so powerful, that even so late after 
the revival of literature as the present day, mankind 
have not yet learned to reason more justly, or to declaim 
more powerfully; a race of barbarous idiots possessed 
themselves of the seat of science and the muses ; and all 
distinction and renown was sought and obtained by absur- 
dities disgraceful to reason, and mortifications revolting 
to nature. '' The groves of the academy, the gardens of 
Epicurus, and even the porticoes of the Stoics, were 
deserted as so many different schools of scepticism or 
impiety, nnd many among the Romans were desirous that 


the writings of Cicero should be condemned and sup- 
pressed by the authority of the senate."* 

The reasoning of which all men see the absurdity, when 
applied by the yictorious Caliph to justify the destruction 
of the library of Alexandria^f appeared unanswerable 
whea adduced on the side of the true faith. 

Omar issued his commands for the destruction of that 
celebrated library^ to his general^ Amrus^ in these words : 
*' As to the books of which you have made mention, if there 
be contained in them what accords with the book of Ood 
(meaning the Koran of Mahomet), there is without them, 
in the book of God, all that is sufficient. But if there be 
any thing in them repugnant to that book, we in no respect 
want them. Order them, therefore, to be all destroyed."' — 

Precisely similar in spirit, and almost in form, are the 
respective decrees of the Emperors Constantine and 
Theodosius, which generally ran in the words, ^* that all 
writings adverse to the claims of the Christian religion^ 
in the possession of whomsoever they should be found, 
should be committed to the fire," as the pious Emperors 
would not that those things which they took upon them- 
selves to assume, tended to provoke God to wrath, should 
be allowed to offend the minds of the pious4 Mr. Gib- 
bon, in his usual strain of caustic sarcasm, mentions the 
elaborate treatises which the philosophers, more espe- 
cially the prevailing sect of the new Platonici<an6, who 
endeavoured to extract allegorical wisdom from the 
fictions of the Greek poets, composed ; and the many ela- 
borate treatises against the faith of the Gospel, which 
have since been committed to the flames, by the prudence 
of orthodox emperors. The large treatise of Porphyry - / 
against the Christians^ consisted of thirty books, and was 
composed in Sicily about the year 270. It was against 
the writings of this great man especially, who had 
acquired the honourable addition to his name, of thb 
VIRTUOUS, that the exterminatory decree of Theodosius 
was more immediately directed. There is little doubt, 
that had the discoveries his writings would have made, 
been permitted to come to general knowledge, all the pre- 
tended external evidence of Christianity must have been 

* Gibbon, ch. 16. 

t Tlie destruction of this celebrated library gave safety to tlie e? idences 
of the Christian religion. 
} See the decrees quoted in my Syntagma, p. 86. 


given up as wholly uutenable. But while what the vir- 
tuous Porphyry had really written^ was committed to the 
flames^ a worse outrage was committed against his repu- 
tation, by Christians, who. a^are of the ereat influence of 
his name and authority, ascribed the vile trash which they 
had composed themselves to him, for the purpose of making 
him seem to have made the admissions which it was for 
the interest of Christianity that he should have made, or 
to have attacked it so feebly, as might serve to show the 
advantage of their defences. The celebrated treatise on 
the Philosophy of Oracles^ which even the pious Dod- 
dridge, and the learned Macknight, have ascribed to this 
great man^ and availed themselves of, for that fraudulent 
purpose, has, by the greater fidelity and honesty of Lard- 
ner, been demonstrably traced home to the forging hands 
of Christian piety."" ' 

Before the Christian religion had made any perceptible 
advance among mankind, two grand and influential prin- 
ciples characterized all the moving intelligence that then ex- 
isted in the world ; and to these two principles, Christianity 
owed its triumph over all the wisdom and honesty that 
feebly opposed its progress. These principles were, — the 

ATING IGNORANCE. Of the former of these principles, 
the most distinguished advocates were the whole train 
of deceptive legislators ; Moses in Palestine, Mneues (if 
he be not the same) in £g3rpt, Minos in Crete, Lycurgus 
in Lacedaemon, Numa in Rome, Confucius in China^ 
Triptolemus, who pretended the inspirations of Ceres, 
Zaleucus of Minerva, Solon of Bpimenides, Zamolxis of 
Vesta, Pythagoras, and Plato.f Euripides maintained 
that in the early state of society, some wise men insisted 
on the necessity of darkening truth with falsehood, and of 
persuading men that there is an immortal deity, who hears 
and sees and understands our actions, whatever we may 
think of that matter ourselves.;}: Strabo shews at great 
length the general use and important effects of theological 
fables. ^' It is not possible for a philosopher to conduct 
by reasoning a multitude of women, and of the low vulgar, 
and thus to invite them to piety, holiness, and faith; 

* Hfpi Ti^% %K "Kcfywv ^tXoffo^as. See this ezpoF^ in my Syntagma, p. 1 16. 
i It will be seen that I have largely availed myself of my friend*s printed 
bat «apubli8hed work on Deisidemony. 
X Quoted in the pseudo-Plutarcheaii treatise, de placitis phiU^s. B. I, Cli.7. 


bat the philosopher most also make use of superstition^ 
and not omit the invention of fables, and the performance 
of wonders. For the lightning, and the aegis, and the 
trident, and the thyrsolonchsd arms of the gods, are but 
fables ; and so is all ancient theology. But the founders 
of states adopted them as bugbears to frighten the weak- 

Varro says plainly, ''that there are many truths which 
it is useless for the vulgar to know, and many falsities 
which it is fit that the people should not know are falsi-^ 
ties." t 

Paul of Tarsus, whose fourteen epistles make up the 
greater part of the bulk of the New Testament, repeatedly 
inculcates and avows the principle of deceiving the 
common people, talks of his having been upbraided by 
his own converts with being crafty and catching them 
with guile,j: and of his known and wilful lies, abounding to 
die ^ory of 6od.§ For further avowals of this prin- 
ciple of deceit, the reader may consult the chapter of 

Accessory to the avowed and consecrated principle of 
deceitj was that of ignorance. St Paul, in the most 
explicit language, had taught and maintained the absolute 
necessity of extreme ignorance, in order to attain celestial 
wisdom, and gloried in the power of the Almighty as des- 
troying the wisdom of the wise, and bringing to nothing, 
the understanding of the prudent; and purposely choosing 
the foolish things, and the weak things, and the base 
tliings,|| as objects of his adoption, and vessels of his* 
grace And St. Peter, or whoever was the author of the 
epistles ascribed to him, inculcates the necessity of the 
most absolute prostration of understanding, and of a state 
of mind, but little removed from slobbering idiotcy, as 
necessary to the acquisition of divine knowledge ; that 
even ** as new bom babes, they should desire the sincere 
milk of the word, that they might grow thereby.'* If 

Upon the sense of which doctrine, the pious and 
orthodox Tertullian glories in the egregious ridiculous- 

^ Dr. Isaac Vossias, when asked what had become of a certain man of 
letters, answered bluntly, ** he has turned country parson, and is deceiving 
ike vnlgar" — See Desroaiseaaz*8 Life of St Evremond. 

t Aogust. de Cio. Dei. B. 4. 

t 9 Corinth, xii. 16. § Romans lii. 7. |) I Corinth, i. 27. 

n 1 Peter ii. 2. 1 Thess. ii. 7, "* E?cn as a nurse cherisheth her chil- 
dren.** Compare also 2 Corinth, xi. 28, where Paul says, *•' 1 spealc as a 
fool,'* which he need not have said. 



ness of the Christian religion, and the debilitating effects 
which the sincere belief of it had produced on his own 
understanding : his main argument for it, being, '' I reve- 
rence it, because it is contemptible ; I adore it, because it 
is absurd ; I believe it, because it is impossible/'* 

Nothing was considered more obnoxious to the cause 
of the gospel, than the good sense contained in the 
writings of its opponents. The inveteracy against leam« 
ing, of Gregory the Great, to whom this country owes its 
conversion to the gospel, was so excessive, that he 
not only was angry wim an Archbishop of Vienna, for 
suffering grammar to be taught in his diocese, but studied 
to write bad Latin himself, and boasted that he scorned 
to conform to the rules of grammar, whereby he might 
seem to resemble a heathen.f The spirit of super- 
stition quite suppressed all the efforts of learning and 

Christianity was first sent to the shores of England by 
the missionary zeal of Pope Gregory the First, not earlier 
than the sixth or the beginning of the seventh century. 
Our King Alfred, who is said to have founded the Uni- 
versity of Oxford, in the ninth century, lamented that 
there was at that time not a priest in his dominions 
who understood Latin,! and even for some centuries 
after, we find that our Christian bishops and prelates, 
the ^* teachers, spiritual pastors, and masters," of the 
whole Christian community, were Marksmen, t . e. they sup- 
plied by the sign of the cross, their inability to write 
their own names.§ 

Though philology, eloquence, poetry, and histoiy, were 
sedulously cultivated among those of the Greeks and 
Latins, who in the fourth century still held out their 
resistance against the Christian religion : its just and 
honourable historian, Mosheim, admonishes his readers 
by no means to conclude that any acquaintance with the 
sciences had become universal in the church of Christ|| 
^ It is certain, (he adds^ that the greatest part both of the 
bishops and presbyters, were men entirely destitute of 
learning and education. Besides, that savage and illiterate 
party, who looked upon all sorts of erudition, particulariy 

* De ctrne Christ! Semleri, Edit. Hile Magdeborgiea, 1770, toI.S, p. 862. 
Qnoted in Syntagma, page 106. 
+ Dr. MaDde?Tlie*8 Free Thoughts, page ld3. 

See Histery.of England, almost any one. 

Bf ans^t Sketches. 

Eeelesiastieal History, Cent. 4, part S, ehap. I, see. 6, p. S46. 



that of a philoiophical kind, as pernicious, and even de- 
stnictiye of trae piety and religion, increased both in 
nunber and authority. The ascetics, monks^ and hermits, 
augmented the strength of this barbarous faction, and not 
only the women, but also all who took solemn looks, sordid 
garments, and a lore of solitude, for real piety, (and in 
this number we comprehend the generality of mankind) 
were yehemently prepossessed in j&eir favour/' 

Happily the security and permanency given to the once 
won triumphs of learning over her barbarous foes, by the 
invention of the art of printing,* the now extensive 
spread of rational scepticism, and the never again to be 
surrendered achievements of superior intelligence, have 
forced upon the advocates of ignorance, the necessity of 
expressing their still too manifest suspicions and hostility 
against tl^ cause of general learning, in more guarded and 
qualified teims. fiut what they still would have, the 
sameness of their principle, the identity of their purpose, 
and the sincerity of their conviction that the cuitivatioa 
of the mind, and the continuance of the Christian religion, 
are incompatible, is indicated in the institution of an 
otherwise superfluous university in the city of London, 
for the avowed puipose of counteracting the well foreseen 
effeots of suflfering leaming to get her pass into the world 
untrammelled wi& the fetters of superstition. The ad- 
vertisement of subscriptions to the intended King's Col* 
lege, in the Tknea newspaper, even so late as the 16th of 
this present month of August, in which I write from this 
prison, in the cause and advocacy of intellectual free«> 
dcnn, avows the principle in these words : — '' We, the 
undersigned, fully concurring in the fundamental 
PRINCIPLBS on which it is proposed to be established, 
namely, that every principle of general education for die 
youth of a Christian community, ought to comprise in- 
struction in the Christian religion, as an indUpensable part ; 
without which, the acquisition of other branches of know- 
ledge, will be conducive neither to the happiness, nor to 
the weUbre of the state." In other words, and most 

* Ib the year 1444, Cazton pnbliiihed the first book ever printed in 
EiiglMid. In 1474, the then Bishop of London, in a cooYocation of his 
elerfv, said, **ifwe do not deHrojf thU dangerous inventi&n, it wiUone 
dajf de$trop ««•" The reader should compare Pope Leo the Tenth's avowal, 
tlict '' it wa9 ftell knoftn how pr^tahU thi$ fabie qf ChriMi hat been to 
«M .-** with Mr. Beard's Apology for it, in hfs tlilrd letter to the.Rer. Robert 
Taylor, page 74, and Archdeacon Paley's declaration, that '* he eoukt moi 
tlfirtl to kawe a t^Kteienee,*' — See Life of the Author attached to his work 
OB tiM Bfldenoee of Christianity, p. 11. London 19mo. edit. 18C6. 

D S 

36 err ATE op philosophy. 

mieqniyocally in the sense intended, the ntmost extent of 
learning i^hich the oniyersity propounds, will never reach 
to the rendering any of its members competent to conflict 
with the learning of the enemies of the Christian faith ; 
to produce either orators who dare attempt to vie on 
eqnal grounds with their orators ; readers, who dare trust 
their conscious inferiority of understanding to read^ or 
writers that shall have ability or disposition to answer 
their writings. The old barbarous policy of Goth and 
Vandal ignorance, to suppress and commit to the flames 
the writings of Infidels, to decry their virtues, and to 
imprison their persons; to shelter conscious weakness 
under airs of affected contempt; to crush the man when 
they can no longer cope widi his argument, to destroy 
the reasoner, when they dare not encounter his reasoning, 
is still the dernier resource of a system, that cannot he 
defended by other means, but must needs be left in the 
dust from whence it sprang, whenever the mind of man 
shall be allowed to get a fair start, without being clogged 
vnth it. 

'' In consequence of the conquests of the Romans, there 
arose imperceptibly, but entirely by the operation of 
natural and most obvious causes, a new kind of religion, 
formed by the mixture of the ancient rites of the con- 
quered nations with those of the Romans. Those nations, 
who before their subjection, had their own gods, and their 
own particular religious institutions, were persuaded by 
degrees, to admit into their worship, a great number of the 
sacred rites and customs of their conquerors."* And from 
this conjunction, helped on or retarded from time to time, 
by those exacerbations and paroxysms, which ever attend 
the fever of religion, as it aflUcts the sincerely religious, 
and the policy of those wicked tacticians, who have always 
known how to raise or lower the spiritual temperament to 
their purpose, arose that heterogeneous compound of all 
that was good and all that was bad in all religions, whidi, 
after having existed under various names and modifica- 
tions, and gained by gradual usurpations a considerable 
ascendancy over any or all the idolatrous forms from 
which it had been collected, began to be called Chris- 
tianity. " The wiser part of mankind, however, (says 
Mosheim) about the time of Christ's birth, looked upon 
the whole system of religion, as a just object of contempt 
and ridicule.''t 

♦ MosMnn, Cent. 1. + Mosheim, Cent. I, Ch. I. 


'' About the time of Christ's appearance upon earth,* 
there were two kinds of philosophy which prevailed among 
the civilized nations. One was the philosophy of the 
Greeks, adopted also by the Romans ; and the other, that 
of the Orientals, which had a great number of votaries 
in Persia, Syria, Chaldea, Egypt, and even among the 

The Oreek and Roman mode of thought and reasoning, 
was designated by the simple title of PniLosoPHY.t 

That of the eastern nations, as opposed to it, was called 

The Philosophy y signified only the love and pursuit of 

The Gnosisy signified the perfection and full attainment 
of wisdom itself. 

The followers of both these systems, as we might natu- 
rally suppose, split and subdivided into innumerable sects 
and parties. It must be observed however, that while 
the Philosophers, or those of the Grecian and Roman 
school, were infinitely divided, and held no common prin- 
ciple of union among themselves, some of them being 
opposed to all religion whatever ; the Gnostics, or adhe- 
rents of the oriental system, deduced all their various 
tenets from one Amdamental principle, that of their com- 
mon deism, and universally professed themselves to be the 
restorers of the knowledge of God, which was lost in the 
world. St. Paul mentions and condemns both these modes 
of thought and reasoning; that of the Greeks, in his 
Epistle to the Colossians, and that of the Orientals, in his 
first to Timothy.§ 

The Gnosis, or Gnosticism, comprehends the doctrine 
of the Magi,|| the philosophy of the Persians, Chaldeans, 
and Arabians, and the wisdom of the Indians and Egyp- 
tians. It is distinctly to be traced in the text and doctrines 
of the New Testament. It was from the bosom of this 
pretended oriental wisdom, that the chiefs of those sects, 
iriiich, in the three first centuries, perplexed the Christian 
church, originally issued. The name itself signified, that 
its professors taught the way to the true ktiowledge of the 

* Oar lathor means toy time about or uear the era of Augustas. 

t H ♦tXinro^a. } H Tvttffis. 

^ Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and Tain deceit. — 
Coloat.ti. 8. Avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of 
science, falsely so calli^. — 1 Tim. vi. SO. 

g The Magi, or wise men of the oast, (Matthew ii. 1,) t. e. the Brahmins^ 
who int got up tha allegorical story of Curishna. 


Deity. Thsir most distinpiished sect incnlcated the 
aotion of a triumvirate of beings, in which the Supreme 
Jhity was distinguished both from the material evil prim^ 
eiple, and from the creator of this sublunary world. 

The Philosophy, comprehended the Epicureans the 
most virtuous and rational of men, who maintained that 
wisely consulted pleasure, was the ultimate end of man ; 
the Academics, who placed the height of wisdom in doobt 
and scepticism; the Stoics, who maintained a fortitude 
indifferent to all events ; the Aristotelians, who, after their 
master, Aristotle, held the most subtle disputations con- 
cerning Crod, religion, and the social duties, maintaining 
that die nature of Grod resembles the principle that gives 
motion to a madiine, that it is happy in the contemplation 
of itself, and entirely regardless of human affairs ; the 
PUUonists, from their master Plato, who taught the im- 
mortality of the soul, the doctrine of the trinity, of the 
manifestation of a divine man, who should be crucified, 
and the eternal rewards and punishments of a future life ; 
and from all these resulting, the Eclectics, who, as their 
names signifies elected, and chose what they held to be 
wise and rational, out of the tenets of all sects, and rejected 
whatever was considered futile and pernicious. The 
Eclectics held Plato in the highest reverence. Their 
ooUege or chief establishment was at Alexandria in Egjrpt. 
Their founder was supposed to have been one Potamon. 
The most indubitable testimonies prove, that this Philo- 
sophy was in a flourishing state, at the period assigned to, 
tife birth of Christ The Eclectics are the same whom we' 
find described as the Therapeuts or Essenes of Philo, and 
whos e sacred writings are, by Eusebius, shown to be the 
same as our gospels. Nought, but the supposed expediency 
of deoeiving the vulgar, and of perpetuating ignorance, 
hinders the historian to whom I am, for the substance of this 
chapter, so much indebted, from acknowledging the fact, 
that in every rational sense that can be attached to die 
word, they were the authors and real founders of Chris- 



In stndjring the writings of the early advocates of Chris- 
tianity, and fathers of the^ Christian church ; where we 
should naturally look for the language diat would indicate 

ADMfltiONI OP CHEIiniAN WRimttS. 99 

the real oocarrence of the facts of the gospel, if real 
occurrences they had ever been ; not only do we find no 
soch sort of language^ bat every where, find we, any sort 
of sophistical ambages, ramblings from the subject, and 
eivasions of the very business before them, as if of purpose 
to balk our research, and insult our scepticism. If we 
travel to the very sepulchre of Christ, we have only to 
discover that he was never there : history seeks evidence 
of his existence as a man, but finds no more trace of it, 
tiMm of the shadow that flitted across the wail. The star 
of Bethlehem shone not upon her path, and the order of 
the universe was suspended without her observance* She 
asks with the Magi of the east, \' where is he that is born 
King of the Jews,"" and like them, finds no solution of her 
inquiry, but the guidance that guides as well to one place 
as another ; descriptions that apply to Esculapius, as well 
as to Jesus ; prophecies, without evidence that they were 
ever prophesied ; miracles, which those who are said to 
have seen, are said also to have denied that they saw ; 
narratives without authorities, &ct8 without dates, and 
records without names. 

Where we should naturally look for the evidence of 
recentness, and a mode of expression suitable to the 
character of witnesses, or of those who had conversed 
with witnesses, we not only find no such modes of expres- 
sion ; but both the recorded language and actions of tiie 
parties, are found to be entirely incongruous, and out of 
keeping with the supposition of such a character. We 
find the discourses of the very first preadiers and martyrs 
of this religion, outraging all chronology, by claiming the 
iionours of an even then remote antiquity, for the doctrines 
they taught. 

1. We find St. Stephen,* the very first martyr of Chris- 
tianity, in the very city where its stupendous events are 
supposed to have happened, and, as our Bible chronologies 
inform us, within the very year in which they happened ; 
and on the very occasion on which above all others that 
could be imagined, he must, and would have borne testi- 
mony to them, as constituting the evidences of his faith, 
the justification of his conduct, and the grounds of his 
martyrdom; nevertheless, bearing no such testimony; 
yea ! not so much as glancing at those events, but found- 

* ,Stbphkn, 1 luupe of the aame order as NicodenittS» Philip, Andrew, 
AYexender, &c.^ entirely of Grecian origin, ascribed to Jews, who noTor 
had sadi namee, nor any lilce then. 

40 ADilill810N8 OK' ClUUSTIAN WRITfiBB. 

ibg his whole argmnent on the ancient legends of the 
Jewiflli superstition. What a falling off is there ! 

2. We find St Paul, the very first Apostle of the 
Grentiles, expressly avowing that " he was made a minister 
of the gospel, which had already been preached to every 
creature under heaven ;'' (Col. i. 23,) preaching a god 
manifest in the flesh, who had been " believed on in the 
world," (1 Tim. iii. 16,) .before the commencement of his 
ministry; and who therefore could have been no such 
person as the man of Naaareth, who had certainly not 
been preached at that time, nor generally believed on in the 
world, till ages after that time. 

3. We find him, moreover, out of all character and con- 
sistency of circumstance, assuming the most intolerant 
airs of arrogance, and snubbing Peter at Antioch, as if Ae 
were nobody, or had absolutely been preaching a false 
doctrine, of which Paul were the more proper judge, and 
the higher authority. A circumstance absolutely demon- 
strative that the Peter of the Acts was no such person as 
the Peter of the Gospels, who would certainly not have 
suffered himself to be called over the coals, by one who 
was but a new setter up in the business, but would in all 
probability have cut his ear off, rapt out a good oath or 
two, or knock him down with his keys, for such audacious 

4. It is most essentially remarkable, that as these Acts 
of the Apostles bear internal evidence of being a much 
later production than the epistles and gospels, and are 
evidently mixed up with the journals of real adventures of 
some travelling missionaries ; they are not mentioned with 
the epistles and gospels which had constituted the ancient 
writings of the Therapeutce. Chrysostom, Bishop of Con- 
stantinople, (a. d. 398,) informs us, that at that time, *' this 
book was unknown to many, and by others it was des- 

5. Mill, one of the very highest authorities in biblical 
literature, tells us, '^ that the gospels were soon spread 
abroad, and came into all men's hands ; but the case was 
somewhat different with the other books of the New Tes- 
tament, particularly the Acts of the Apostles, which 
were not thought to be so important, and had few trans- 

6. And Bbausobrb acknowledges, that the book of 
the Acts, had not at the beginning in the eastern churches, 
the same authority with the gospels and the epistles. 


'7. IiARONEH, (roL 2, p. 605,) would rather gire St. 
Chrysostom the lie, than surrender to the pregnant con- 
sequence of so fatal an admission. The gospels were 
soon received, for they were ready before the world was 
awake. The Acts were a second attempt Where we 
should look for mariu of distinction, as definite as those 
which must necessarily and eternally exist between truth 
and falsehood, between divine wisdom and human weak- 
ness, between what man knew by the suggestion of his 
own unassisted shrewdness, and what he onJy could have 
known by the further instruction of divine revelation ; not 
only find we no such lines or characters of distinction, but 
alas i in the stead and place thereof, we find the most entire 
and perfect amalgamation, an entire surrender of all chal* 
lengeto distinction,a complete capitulation, going over, and 
'' haU-feUatO'well'met'' conjunction, of Jesus and Jupiter. 
Christianity and Paganism are frankly avowed to have 
been never more distinct from each otiier, than six fnnn 
half-a-dooen, never to have been at variance or diviiM, 
but by the mere accidental substitution of one set of 
names for the other, and the very trifling and immaterial 
misunderstanding, that the new nomenclature had occa- 

'' Some of the andentest writers of the church have not 
scrupled expressly to call the Athenian Socrates, and 
some others of the best of the heathen moralists, by the 
name of Christians, and to affirm, that as the law was 
as it were a schoolmaster, to bring the Jews unto Qirist, 
so true moral philosophy was to the GentUes a prepa^- 
rative to receive the gospel." — Clarke'i Evidences of Natural 
and Revealed Religion, p. 284. 

8.* ** And those who lived according to the Logos, (says 
Clemens AJexandrinus) were reaUy Christians, Uiou^ 
they have been thought to be Atheists ; as Socrates and 
Heraclitus were among the Greeks, and such as resembled 

9. t For Grod, says Origen, revealed these things to them, 
and whatever things have been well spoken. 

lO.j: And if there had been any one to have coUected 

• * Koi M /MTflt Xay9 imaarm, xpufruami cun, itw al^wt ^voiuff^naw wmr v 
EXXifO'i /iCK Smk^otiis koi HfcwXciros mu oi ofUMoi avroci. — CLemvnt Alex, Strom* 

^ O 0CO9 yap mnots roura, mu ova KoXmr AtXcirrai c^oycMvo'c.— Orta. ad Mb. 
Bib 6. 

% Qaod si eztilisset iliqois qui Teritatem sparsam per singulos, per 
sti^Mqiie dithuim colligeret in anvm, ac redigerot in corpu?, is profectu son 
disicBtlret anobis."— loefaiie. Hb. 7. 


the trath that was scattered and diffused, sa3ni Lactan- 
tausy among sects and indiyidnals, into one, and to have 
reducfd it into a system, there would, indeed, hare been 
no difference between him and us. 

11*. And if Cicero's works, says Amobius, had been 
read as they ou^t to have been by the heathens, there 
woidd have been no need of Christian writers. 

12.t '' That, in our times is the Chhistian rbligion, 
(says St. Augustin,) which to know and follow is the most 
sure and certain health, called according to that name, 
but not according to the thing itself, of which it is the 
name ; for the thing itself, which is now called the 
Christian Rbligion, really was known to the ancients, 
nor was wanting at any time from the beginning of the 
human race, until the time when Christ came in tihe flesh, 
from whence the true religion, which had previously 
existed, began to be called Christian: and this in our days 
is the Christian religion, not as having been wanting in 
former times, but as having in later times received this 

184 '* What then ? and do the philosophers recommend 
nothing like the precepts of the gospel V* SLaks Lactantius. 
Yes, indeed, they do very many, and often approach to 
truth ; only their precepts have no weight, as being merely 
human and devoid oi that greater and divine authority; 
and nobody believes, because the hearer thinks himself as 
much a man, as he istwfao prescribes tiiem. 

14. Monsieur Daill^e, in his most excellent treatise, 
called. La Religion Catholique Ramaine, imtituee par Numa 
Pampile, demonstrates, that ''the Papists took their 
idolatrous worship of images, as well as all other cere- 
monies from the old heathen religion," and 

16. Ludovicus Vivus, a learned Catholic, confesses, 

* So quoted and translated by Tindal, in his *' Christianity as Old as the 
Creation,'* p. 807. 

t Ea est nostris temporibus Christiana religio, qaam coguoscere ac scqnl 
leeorlsaiaa et certiaaima salas est : seeondom hoc nomen dietan est non 
secnndam ipsam remcajus hoc nomen est: nam res ipsa que nunc Christiana 
religio nuncupatur erat et apud antiques, nee defuit ab initio generis humani, 
qnoasqae ipse Chrlstas teniret In came, undo vera religio que jam erat cspit 
appellari Christiana. Httc est nostris temporibns Christiana religio, non 
quia prioribns temporlboa non fuit, sed quia posterioribus hoc nomen aocepit. 
— Opera Augustini, tol. i, p. 18. Basil edit. 1589. 

X Quid ergo, nihil ne illi (philosophi) simile prncipiunt 7 fmmo permalta 
et ad veritatem frequenter accedunt. Sed nihil ponder! s habent ila preeepta, 
qaia sunt humana, et auctoritate majori id est divina, ilia carent. Nemo igitur 
ondit ; quia tarn se hominem potat esse qui audit, quam est llle qui prmciplt. 
^Laetant. lib. t, ut Citat Clarke, p. 801: 


that ** there could be found no other diffeience between 
Pagfanieh and Popish worship befimre images, but only 
this, that names and titles aie changed/' — Qw^Ud in 
Bhunfs Philoitratus, p. 138, 114. 

16.* Epiphanias freely admits, of all the heretical forms 
of Christianity, that is, of all that differed from his own, 
that they were derived from the heathen mythology. 

17. The Manichees, the most distinguished of all who 
dissented from the established church, and unquestionably 
the most intelligent and learned of all who ever professed 
and called themselves Christians, boasted of being in 
possession of a work called the Theosoj^y, or the 
W isdom of Gk>d ; (and such a work we actually find quoted 
hj St. Paul, 1 Corinth. 2,) in which the purport was to 
SBOW,t that Judaism, Paganism, and Manicheeism, t. e. 
as they understood it, Christianity, were one and the same 
religion, and 

18. Even our own orthodox Bishop Burnet, in his 
treatise De Statu Mortuorumy purposely written in Latin, 
that it might serve for the instruction of the clergy only, 
smd not come to the knowledge of the laity, because, as 
he says, ** too much light is hurtful for weak eyes ;" not 
only justifies, but recommends the practice of the most 
consummate hypocrisy ,'and that too, on the most awful of 
all subjects; and would have his clergy seriously preach 
and maintain the reality and eternity of hell torments, 
even though they should believe nothing of the sort them* 

What is this, but an edition, by a Christian bishop, of 
the very sentiment which Cicero reproves in Pagan phi- 
losophers: — '^Quid? ii qui dixerunt totam de Diis im- 
mortalibus opinionem^/ifcf am esse ab hominibus sapientibus, 
Reipublicn caus&, utquos Ratio non posset, eos ad offidum 
Religio duceret, nonne omnem religionem funditus sus* 
tulerunt" — ^De Nat. Deor. lib. 1, ch. 42, p. 405. — Can 
there be any doubt, thiCt Bishop Burnet, witii all his cant 
about converting the Earl of Rochester, was himself an 

19. Dr. Mosheim, among his many and invaluable 

* Ec TOf cAXifyuHiy fanftwy mi^at m ai^cii tftwa^M fovroif nir wA anp i 
MirflCaAMr.— Hier. 26, n. 16, p. 9B, D. 

t Ir If vMffiroi 9wanmm rw ia8«Mr/u«r km re» tXkiiifWiiMf km tov ifmnxmrnprn 
m wamu ttm ro ovro So^fiA.— Flibrieias, tOH. 1, p. SS4. 

1 Si Be Umen aodire veils, mallem te psaai has dlcere iDdeflDitai qsam 
iiiiilM.-*8ed veDlet dies, ema non muiiis abswnUt, hebebitsr et odiosa bcc 
oplBi« i|«aB traiMabiKaiilialio bodie.«''I>e Stat« Mort. p« SOA. 


writmgs, pablished a dissertation, showing the reasons 
and causes of supposititions writings in the first and 
second century. And all own, says Lieirdner, that Chris- 
tians of all sorts were guilty of this fraud ; indeed, we may 
say, it was one great fault of the times.* 

20. t *^ And in the last place, (says the great Casaubon,) 
it mightily affects me, to see how many there were in the 
earliest times of the church, who considered it as a capital 
exploit, to lend to heavenly truth the help of their own 
inventions, in order that the new doctrine might be more 
readily allowed by the wise among the Gentiles. These 
ojflicious lies, they were wont to say, were devised for a 
good end. From which source, beyond question, sprung 
nearly innumerable books, which that and the following 
age saw published by those who were far from being bad 
iiien4: (for we are not speaking of the books of heretics,) 
under the name of the Lord Jesus Christy and of the 
apostles, and other saints."" 

The reader has only to satisfy himself with his own 
solution of the question emergent from such an admission. 
If those who palmed what they knew to be alie^ upon the 
woild, under the name and sanction of a Grod of truth, are 
to be considered as still worthy of our confidence, and/ar 
from being bad men : who are the bad men ? Illud me quo- 
que vehementer movet. 

21. '^ There is scarce any church in Christendom at this 
day, (says one of the church's most distinguished orna- 
ments) which doth not obtrude, not only plain falsehoods^ 
but such falsehoods as will appear to any free spirit, pure 
contradictions and impossibiUties; and that with the same 
gravity, autiiority, and importunity, as they do the holy 
oracles of God.*' — Dr. Henry Moore. 

Here again emerge the anxious queries. — Why should 
not a man have a free spirit? and what credit can be due 
to the holy orades of Grod, standing on no better evidence 

* Ltrdner, toI. 4, p. fM. 

t ** Postremo iUad qooqiie me Tehementer mo?et, quod Tideam primis 
flceletis temporibus, qoam plorimus ezUtisse, qui faciaas palmarium judi- 
etbant, cceleatem ▼eritatein, figmentis ania ire adjatum, qao facilius noya 
dictrioa a geotiuni aapientibus admitteretur. Officlosa h»e meodacia vocabant 
bono doe ezcogitata. Qao ex fonte dnbio procul, sunt orti libri fer^ sezcenti, 
qooa iUa ataa et prozima Tiderunt, ab nomioibua minime malis, (nam de 
iMaratieorain libria noe loqnfmur) sub nomine etiam Domini Jean Cnriati et 
npoitoloram aliorumqne sanctorum publieatos.**— Casaubon, quoted in 
Ltfdner, vol. 4, p. 584. 

% Mosbeim treats these holy forgers with the same tenderness, '* they were 
I, (he says) whose intentions were not bad.*'— £ccl. Hist. to). I, p. 100. 


of being such, than the testimony of those, who we know 
have palmed the grossest falsehoods on us, with the same 
gravity, and as of equal authority with those holy orades ? 

22. ** This opinion has always been in the world, that to 
settle a certain and assured estimation upon that which 
is good and true, it is necessary to remove out of the way, 
whatsoever may be an hindrance to it Neither ought 
we to wonder, that even those of the honest innocent 
primitive times made use of these deceits, seeing for a 
good end they made no scruple to forge whole books." — 
Daille, on the Use of the Fathers, b. 1, c. 3. 

What good end was that, which needed to be prosecuted 
by the forgery of whole books V* 

23. ** But If our unrighteousness commend the riehteousnesi 
of God, what shall we say f — Rom. iii. 6. ** For if the truth 
of God hath more abounded through my lie, unto his glory, 
why yet am I also judged as a sinner f" — Romans, iii. 7. 

24. The apostolic father. Hernias, who was the fellow- 
labourer of St Paul in the work of the ministry ; who is 
greeted as such in the New Testament: and whose 
writings are expressly quoted* as of divine inspiration 
by the early fathers, ingenuously confesses that lying 
was the easUy-besetting sin of a Christian. His words 

'' O Lord, I never spake a true word in my life, but I 
have always lived in dissimulation, and affirmed a lie for 
truth to all men, and no man contradicted me, but all gave 
credit to my words.'' To which the holy angel, whom he 
addresses, condescendingly admonishes him, that '^ as the 
lie was up, now, he had better keep it up, and as in time 
it would come to be believed, it would answer as well as 
truth." # 

25. Even Christ himself is represented in the gospels 
as inculcating the necessity, and setting the example of 
deceiving and imposing upon the common people, and 
purposely speaking unto tiiem in parables and double 
entendres, **that seeing, they might see, and not perceive; and 
hearing, they might hear, but not understand.'' — Mark, iv. 12. 

* The words of the text are, **Now thou hearest, tak'e care from hence- 
forth, that even those things which thoa hast formerly spoken falsely, may by 
thy present truth, receive credit. For even those things may be credited ; 
if for the time to come, thou sbalt speak the truth, and by so doing, thou 
mayst attain unto life." — Archbishop Wake's Genuine Epistles of the 
Apostolic Fathers, tn <oco. See this article, where Hbrwas occurs in the 
regular succession of apostolic fathers, in this Dibgesis. 


26* And dhrine inspiratioD, so far firom inTolTmg any 
goarantee that tmth would be spoken nnder its immediate 
mflaence, is in ttie scripture itself, laid down as the 
criterion whereby we may know that nothing in the shape 
of truth is to be expected: — ^* And if the prophet be deceived 
when he hath spoken a thing, I, the Lord, have deceived that 
prophet.'* — ^Esek. xiv. 9. 

27. When it was intended that King Ahab should be 
seduced to his ineyitable destruction, God is represented 
as having employed his faith and piety as the means of 
his overthrow : — " Now, therefore, the Lord hath put a lying 
^irit in the mouth of cUl thy prophets.'' — ^1 Kings, xxii. 2S 
There were four hundred of them, all speaking under the 
influence of divine inspiration, ali having received the 
spirit from on high, all of them the servants of God, and 
engaged in obeying none other than his godly motions, 
yet lying as fast as if the father of lies himself had com- 
missioned them. Such a set of fellows, so employed, 
cannot at least but make us suspect some sort of sarcasm 
in our Tb Dbum, where we say, '' the goodly fellowship of 
the prophets praise thee.** The devil would hardly thiu 
such sort of praise, a compliment* Happy would it have 
been for Ahab, had he becai an InfideL 

28. The New Testament, however, one might hope, as 
being a second revelation from God, would have given 
him an opportunity of *^ repenting of the evil he had spoken ;" 
but alas ! orthodoxy itself is constrained to tremble and 
adore, before that dreadful declaration, than which no 
religion that ever was in the world besides, ever contained 
any thing half so horrible : — ^* For this cause, God shdl send 
them strong delusion that they should believe a lie, that they all 
might be damned." — ^2 Thess. ii. 11, 12. Such was to be 
the effect of divine revelation. 

Should then, our further prosecution of the inquiry 

S reposed by this Dibobsis, lead us to the conviction that 
le amount of evidence for the pretensions of the Chris- 
tian religion, is as strong as it may be, it will yet remain 
for an inquiry, which we shall never venture to prosecute, 
whether that strength of evidence itself, may not be strong 
delusion. Strong enough must that delusion needs be, 
by which Omnipotence would intend to impose on the 
credulitv and weakness of his creatures. Is it for tiiose 
who will defend the (parent inferences of such a passage, 
to point out any thing in the grossest conceits, of the 


grosaest fonius of Paganism, that ndght not have admitted 
of a palliatiYe interpretation ? 

2ft St Paul himself, in an ambiguous text, either 
openly glories in the avowal, or but faintly repels the 
charge of practising a continued system of imposture and 
dissimulation. ** Far unto the Jewi, (says he) / became a$ 
a Jew, that I m^ht gam the Jews. To the weak, became I ae 
weak, that I migM gain the weak ; lam made aU thmgt to alt 
men.** — 1 Corinih. ix. 22. 

30. And in a passage still more pregnant with inference 
to our great inquiry, (2 Galat. ii.) he distinguishes the 
gospel which he preached on ordinary occasions, from 
" that gotpel which he preached privately to them that were of 

31. Dr. Mosheim admits, that the Platonists and Pytha- 
goreans held it as a maxim, that it was not only lawful, 
but praiseworthy to deceive, and even to use the expedient 
of a lie, in order to advance the cause of truth and piety. 
The Jews who lived in Egypt, had learned and received 
this maxim from them, bNefore the coming of Christ, as 
appears incontestibly f^m a multitude of ancient records, 
and the Christians were infected from both these sourcei^ 
with the same pernicious error. — Mosheim, vol. 1, p, 107. 

82. In the fourth century, the same great author in*- 
structs us '* that it was an almost universally adopted 
maxim, that it was an act of virtue to deceive and lie, 
when by such means the interests of the church might be 
promoted.'*— Vol. 1. p. 198. 

33. And as it regards the fifth century, he continues, 
the simplicity and ignorance of the generality in those 
times, fiimished the most favourable occasion for the ex- 
ercise of fraud; and the impudence of impostors in con- 
triving false miracles, was artfully proportioned to the 
credulity of the vulgar : while the sagacious and the wise, 
who perceived these cheats, were overawed into silence 
by the dangers that threatened their lives and fortunes, 
if they shoidd expose the artifice." — Mosheim, Eccl. Hist, 
vol. 2. p. 11. 

34. Nor must we, in any part of our subsequent investi- 
gation, quit our hold on die important admission of the 
met supplied to us by the research of that most eminent 
of critics, the great Sbmler — that the sacred books of the 
Christian Scriptures (from which circumstlmce, it may be, 
they derive their name of sacred) were, during the early 


ages of Christianity, really kept sacred. *^ The Christian 
Doctors (says he) never brought their sacred tM>oks before 
llie common people ; although people in general have been 
wont to think otherwise ; during the first ages, they were 
in the hands of the clergy only." * I solemnly invoke the- 
rumination of the reader to the inferences wiUi which this 
adnussion teems. I write, but cannot think for him. The 
light is in his hand : what it shall show him, must depend 
on his willingness to see. 

35. How the common people were christianized, we 
gathei; from a remarkable passage which Mosheim has- 
preservM^r us, in the life of Gregory, sumamed Than- 
matui^s^llipt is, the wonder-worker : the passage is as 
follows If 

When Gregory perceived that the simple and unskilled 
multitude persisted in their worship of images, on account 
of the pleasures and sensual gratifications which they 
enjoyed at the Pagan festivals, he granted them a permis- 
sion to indulge themselves in the like pleasures, in cele- 
brating the memory of the holy martyrs, hoping, that in 
process of time, they would return, of their own accord, 
to a more virtuous and regular course of life." The his* 
torian remarks, that there is no sort of doubt, that by this 
permission, Gregory allowed the Christians to dance, sport, 
and feast at the tombs of the martjrrs, upon their respec- 
tive festivals, and to do every thing which the Pagans 
were accustomed to do in their temples, during the feasts 
celebrated in honour of their gods." — Mosheim, vol. 1. 
Cent. 2. p. 202. 

36. This accommodating and truly Christian spirit was- 
carried to such an extent, that the images of the Pagan 
deities were in some instances allowed to remain, and 
continued to receive divine honours, in Christian churches. 
The images of the sybills, of which Gallseus has given us 
prints, were retained in the Christian church of Sienna." :t^ 
— Belis, Panth. 2. 237. 

* Christiaui doctores non in Tiilgns prodebant libros sacros, licet solpant 
pleriqne aliter opinari, erant tantomin manibus clericorum, priora per scecula. 
'"DiBBertaLin TertuL 1. § 10. note 57. 

1" Cam animadTertisset Gregorias quod ob corporeas delectationes et ?o- 
loptates, aimplez et imperitnm Tulgua in simalacroram cuUus errore perma- 
neret— permisit eis, ut in memoriam et recordationem gaoctorum martyram 
8«se oblectarent, et in Istitiam effonderentur, quod soccesau temporis ali- 
qoando futnroni esiiet, ut sua sponte, ad honestiorem et accuratiorem ▼!!» 
rationem, transirent.'* 

} The head of tlie Jupiter Olympiua of Phidias, carved in the mahogany 
transept, officiates at this day, as loeum ienens for God Almighty, in the 
chapel of King's College, Cambridge. 



Among the sacred writings which the church has seen 
fit to deem apocryphal, there was a book attributed to 
Christ himself^ in which he declares that he was in no way 
against the heathen gods. — Jones on the Canon, vol. 1. 
p^rlL Origen vindicates, without denying the charge 
of Celsns, '' that tihe Christian Religion contained nothing 
but- what Christians held in common with heathens: 
nothing that was new, or truly greaf — Bellamy's Transla^ 
tion, chap. 4. 

37. Even under the primitive discipline, and before the 
conversion of Rome, while the Church was cautious of 
admitting into her worship any thing that had a relation 
to the old idolatry: yet even in this period, Gregory 
Tbaumaturgus, is commended by his namesake of Nyssa, 
fordianging the Pagan festivals into Christian holidays, 
the better to draw the heathens to the religion of Christ.* 

88. Thus Paulinus, a convert from Paganism, ofsena- 
torian rank, celebrated for his parts and learning, and who 
became Bishop of Nola, apologizes for setting up certain 

Cintings in ms episcopal church, dedicated to Felix the 
artyr^ ^' that it was done with a design to draw the rude 
multitude, habituated to the profane rites of Paganism, to 
.a knowledge and good opinion of the Christian doctrine, 
bv learning from these pictures, what they were not capa- 
ble of learning from books ; i. e. the Lives and Acts of 
Christian Saints." — See Works of Paulinus, B. 9. 

90. Pope Gregory, called the Great, about two centu- 
ries later, makes the same apology for images or pictures 
in churches ; declaring them to have been introduced for 
the sake of the Pagans ; that those who did not know, and 
could not read the Scriptures, might learn from those 
images and pictures what they ought to worship.f 

40. Paulinus declares the object of these images and 
pictures to have been, ^' to draw the heathens the more 
easily to the faith of Christ, since by flocking in crowds to 
gaze at the finery of these paintings, and by explaining to 
each other the stories there represented, they would gra- 
dually acquire a reverence for that religion, which inspired 
so much virtue and piety into its professors." 

* Nyssen, in Vttt Greg. Thaomat. cit. Middleton, Lettiir from Rome, 836. 
Thegood-natore of Gregory is the more commendable, inasmuch as it was a ' 
gratafal retnm of the like degree of indulgence as has been shown to hhnself. 
He was taken in to the Christian miuistrv, and consecrated a bishop of 
Christ, and wrought miracles, even while he continued a Pagan, and was 
entirely ignorant of the Christian doetrine. 

t Epitt. 1. 9, e. 9. 


41. But these compliances^ as Bishop SlillingJUet ob- 
serves, were attended with very bad consequences ; since 
Chrisiianity became at last, by that means, to be tiothing eke 
but reformed Paganism, as to its divine worhsip.* 

42. The learned Christian advocate, M. Turretiny in 
describing the state of Christianity in the fourth century, 
has a well turned rhetoricism, the point of which is, '^thi^t 
it was not so much the empire that was brought oyer (o 
the faith, as the faith that was brought over to the em- 
pire : not the Pagans who were converted to Christianity, 
but Christianity that was converted to Paganism." f 

48. '^ From ttiis era, then, according to the accounts of 
all writers, though Christianity became the public and es- 
tablished religion of the government, yet it was forced to 
sustain a perpetual struggle for many ages, against the 
obstinate efforts of Paganism, which was openly espoused 
by some of the emperors ; publicly tolerated waA privately 
favoured by others ; and connived at in some degree by 
all.'* — Middletons Letters from Rome. 

4A» Within thirty years after Constantino, the emperor 
Julian entirely restored Paganism, and abrogated aU the 
laws which had been made against it. Though it is 
utterly untrue that he was ever guilty of any act of perse- 
cution or intolerance towards Christians. % ^be three 
emperors, who next in order succeeded Julian, t. e. Joimam^ 
Valentinian, Valens; though they were Christians by pro- 
fession, were yet wholly indifferent and neutral between 
the two religions ; granting an equal indulgence and tole- 
ration to them both. So that they may be as fiedrly 
claimed to be Pagan as Christian emperors* Nor had 
even Constantino himself, the first for whom the designa- 
tion of a Christian emperor has been challenged, accepted 
the rite of Christian baptism before he was dying* or ever 
in his life ceased to be, and to officiate, as a priest of the 

Oratian, the seventh emperor from him, and fourth 
after Julian, though a sincere believer, never thought fit to 
annul what Julian had restored. He was the first nowevcf 

* See Bithap StUlingjlecVt Defence of the charge of Idolatry against the 
Romanists, toI. 6 of his Works, p. 4fiO, where the reader wilt find the charge 
demonstrably proved afraiust the chnrch of Rome. 

t ** Non imperio ad Idem adducto, sed et imperii pompa ecclesiam iafi- 
eiente. Non ethnicis ad Chrlstam conversis, sed et Christi religiooe adi 
Ethnics formam depra¥ata."~Orat. Academ. De Variis Christ. Rel. fatis. 

* See vindication of his character, in the Lion, vol. I. No. IS. 18th Letter 
from Oakham. 

ADinnnoNs of chriotian writers. 51 

oiAe emperors who refnsed the title and habit of the 
Fmtifex Maminus, as hicompatible with the Christian 
character. So that till then^ up to the year 384, there 
WM no aetmal disiimcm between Christ and Belial; no 
evidence of miracles or strength of reason had been 
oAnwd to attest the superiority of the Christian religion, 
to deMonstrate that there was any material distinction 
between that and Paganism, or to determine the mind of 
any one of the Roman emperors, that there was an incon- 
sSaA&mef in being^ a Christian and a Pagan at the saane 

45. The affront put by Gratian upon the Pagan priest- 
hood, in lefvsing to wear their pontifical robe, was so 
faigftly resented, Aat one of them is recorded to ba-ve sai<F, 
smee the empefor refuses to be our Pontifex Maximus, toe will 
very skmthf take eare that our Pontifex shall be Maxtmus. 

w. In the snbsequent reign of Theodosias, whose laws 
wwn fenendly severe npon the Pagans, Symmachcrs, tlie 
gowm ot of Rome, presented a mem<maF in the strongest 
t^rms, and in the name of the Senate and people of Rome^ for 
lon^ro to replace the altar of victory in the senate house, 
Wkonce it had been removed by Gratian. This memorial 
wnn aflMETwered by St. AmUrose, who in a letter upon it to 
tb^ emperor, observes, that, ^ when the petitioners had so 
fTMR^templen and attars of their own, in all the streets of 
tbeme^ where they might freely offer their sacrifices, it 
lymme A tc^ be a mere itisutt on Christianity, to demand still 
ooe altnr more; and especially in the senate house, where 
tbo grfmkU9 pavt were then Christians/' This petition was 
rojiicled by Vakntiniany against the advice of all hi(# 
oovneM, bnt wae granted presently after by the Christian 
emoetot, Engenins, who mnrthered and succeeded him. 

Thus entering on the fifth century, and further surely 
wo need not descend : we ha»ve the surest and> most une- 
qaifocai demonstration, that Christianity, as a religion 
dfaitSnct fiDni' the ancient Paganism, up to that time, had 
gained no extemrive footing in the worid. After that pe- 
riod^ aD that there was of religion in the world, merges in 
the palpable obscure of the dark ages. The pretence to 
aa avgoment for Ae Christian religion, from any thing 
eMier miraeilons or extraordinary in its propagation, is 
tborefore, a sheer defiance of all' evidence and' reason 

47^ '^Pantonus, the head of the Alexandrian school, 
was prciNUiiy tte first who enriched die church with w 

B 2 



version of the sacred writings, which has been loil 
among the ruins of time." — Mosk. vol. I. 186. — CojHpcfr 
with No. 34. in this Chapter. 

48. ^* They all (t. e. all the fathers of the second c«b» 
tnry) attributed a double sense to the words of Scriptun^ 
the one obvious and literal, the other hidden and mjxrta^ 
rious, which lay concealed, as it were, under the veil of 
the outward letter. The former they treated with the 
utmost neglect," &c. — Ibid. 186. 

49. ^* God also hath made us able ministers of the New 
Testament, not of the letter but of the spirit : for the let- 
ter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." — 2 Ck>rinth. iii. 8. ' 

60. *^ It is here to be attentively observed (says .Mo^ 
sheim, speaking of the church in the second century) thai 
the form used in the exclusion of heinous offenders firan 
the society of Christians, was, at first, extremely simple ; 
but was however, imperceptibly altered, enlarged by an 
addition of a vast multitude of rites, and new-modelled 
according to the discipline used in the ancient mysteries." 
— Mosh. vol. I. p. 199. ■ 

51. *' The profound respect that was paid to the Greek 
and Roman mysteries, and the extraordinary sanctity that 
was attributed to them, induced the Christians, (of the 
second century) to give their religion a mystic air, in order 
to put it upon an equal footing, in point of dignity, with 
that of the Pagans. For this purpose, they gave the 
name of mysteries to the institutions of the gospel, and 
decorated, particularly the holy sacrament, with that 
solemn title. They used, in that sacred institnti<m, as abo 
in that of baptism, several of the terms employed in the 
heathen mysteries, and proceeded so far at lengdi, as even 
to adopt some of the rites and ceremonies of which thoee 
renowned mysteries consisted." — Ibid. 204. 

52. ^' It may be further observed, that the custom of 
teaching their religious doctrines, by images, actions, 
signs, and other sensible representations, which prevailed : 
among the Egyptians, and indeed in almost all the eastern 
nations, was another cause of the increase of external rites 
in the church.** — Ibid. 204. 

53. '^ Among the human means that contributed to mnt 
tiply the number of Christians, and extend the limits Of 
the church in the third century, we shall find a great 
variety of causes uniting their influence, and contributing 
jointly to this happy purpose. Among these most be 
reckoned the zeal and labours of Origen, and the different 


works which were published by learned and pious men in 
defence of the gospel. If among the causes of the pro- 
pagation of Christianity^ there is any place due to pious 
FRAUDS, it is certain that theif merit a very small part of 
the honour of having contributed to this glorious purpose, 
siiice they were practised by few, and that very rarely."* 
— Masheim, vol. I, p. 246. 

. 54. ^' Origen, invited from Alexandria by an Arabian 
prince, converted by his assiduous labours a certain tribe 
of wandering Arabs to the Christian faith. The Goths, 
a fierce and warlike people, received the knowledge of the 
gospel by the means of certain Christian doctors, sent 
Uiither from Asia. The holy lives of these venerable 
teacbers, and the miraculous powbrs with which they 
were endowed, attracted the esteem, even of a people 
educated to nothing but plunder and devastation, and 
absolutely uncivilized by letters or science: and their 
authority and influence became so great, and produced in 
process of time such remarkable effects, that a great part 
of this barbarous people professed themselves the disciples 
of Christ, and put off, in a manner, that ferocity which had 
been so natural to them." — Vol. I, 247. 

. S&» '^ Among the superhuman means," which, after all 
that be has admitted, this writer thinks can alone suffi- 
ciently account for the successful propagation of the 
gospel, ^^ we not only reckon the intrinsic force of celestial 
tratn, and the piety and fortitude of those who declared 
it to the world, but also that especial and itUerposing pro- 
vidence, which by dreams ?aid nisions, presented to the minds 
of many, who were either inattentive to the Christian 
doctrine, or its professed enemies, touched their hearts 
with a conviction of the truth, and a sense of its import- 
ance ; and engaged them without delay to profess them- 
selves the disciples of Christ." 

56. ** To this may also be added, the healing of diseases, 
and other miracles, which many Christians were yet 
enabled to perform, by invoking the name of the Divine 
Saviour." — Mosheim, vol. I, p. 245. 

On these last four most important admissions; the 
leader will observe, that it may be enough to remark, 
that the principle on which this work is conducted, so 

^ How nast every ingeeuous and virtuous sensibility in man's nature, 
li^ve smirted luider the distress of being obliged te use language like this. 
1 know the inan who hath preferred the fate of felons, and would rather 
itiai; put only from the prison to the tomb, than he would use the like. 


well expressed in its motto, that philosophy which m 
agreeable to fuiture, approve and cherUh; but thai which 
pretends to commerce with the deity ^ avoid! pledges os to view 
all references to supernatural agency, as being no proof 
of such agency, but as demonstration absokite of the 
idiotish stupidity, or errant knavery of the party, rest* 
ing any cause whatever on such references. It is not 
in the former of these predicaments, that such an histodaii 
as Mosheim, can be impeached; nor could either th^ 
emoluments or dignities of the theological chair at HeLn^ 
stadt, or the Chancellorship of the University of Gottingen, 
allay the smartings of sentiment, and the anguish cMf ooq* 
scions meanness, in holding them at so dear a prioe» as 
the necessity of making such statements, of thus selUng 
his name to the secret scorn of all whose praise was worth 
ambition, thus outraging his own convictions, thus oon- 
flicting with his own statements ; thus bowing down his 
stupendous strength of talent, to harmonise with the fig* 
ments of drivelling idiotcy, making learning do homage to 
ignorance, and the clarion that should have roused the 
sleeping world, pipe down to concert with the rattl^-tnqp 
and Jews's-harp of the nursery. 

Of the pious frauds, which this historian admits to 
share only a small part of the honour of contributing to 
the propagation of the gospel, because they were ^'prac- 
tised by so few ;" he had not the alleviation to his feelings, 
of bein^ able to be ignorant that he has falsified that 
statement in innumerable passages of this and his othor 
writings ; and that his whole history of the church, from 
first to last, contains not so much as a single instance, of 
one of the fathers of the church, or first preachers of the 
gospel, who did not practice those pious frauds. 

S7. *^ The authors who have treated of the innocence 
and sanctity of the primitive Christians, have fallen into 
the error of supposing them to have been unspotted 
models of piety and virtue, and a gross error indeed it 
is, as the strongest testimonies too evidently prove."*— 
Ibid. p. 120. 

58.* '' Such was the license of inventing, so headlong 
the readiness of believing, in the first ages, that the 
credibility of transactions derived from thence, must haTe 
been hugely doubtful: nor has the world only, but the 

* *< Tanta fuit primis skcuIih fingendi licentia, tam prona in crodendo 
facilitas, ut reruni ge&taruiii fides cxindo gravilcr laboraverat. Nrave 
enim orbis tcrraruin tantuiii, scd et Dei ccclesia de tcmporihuB suis mytlKls 
merlto quairalur.'*— Fell, Bishop of Oxford, quoted by Laitkier aud Tiodal. 

▲mumoNB or outisriAM wbitbbs. ^ 

church of Qod also, ha5 reasonably to complain of its 
anysCical times/' — IHshop Fell, so rendered in the Author's 
Syntagma^ p. 84. 

SOk ** The extraT€igant notions which obtained among 
the Christians of the primitive ages, (says Dupin) sprang 
flfoiti the opinions of the Pagan philosophers^ smd from 
tile aiysteries, which crack-brained men put on the history 
of the Old and New Testament, according to their imagi- 
nations. The more extraordinary these opinions were^ 
the more did they relish^ and the better did they like 
thMi; and those who inrented them, published them 
gfa¥aly> as great mysteries to the simple, who were all 
diiqiosed to receive them.'' — Duma's Short History of the 
Church, vol. 2, c. 4, a« quoted by lifidalj p. 224. 

00. ''They have bat little knowledge of the Jewish 
juMon, and of the primitive Christians, who obstinately 
rsfese to believe that such sort of notions could not pro- 
ceed from thence ; for on the contrary, it was their very 
oharaoter to turn the whole scripture into allegory." — Arch- 
Ushop Wak^s Life of the Apostle Barnabas, p. 78, 

Of the MIRACULOUS POWBRS with which Mosheim* 
would persuade us that the Christians of the third century 
wete still endowed ; we have but to confront him with his 
own cofifficting statement, on the 11th page of his second 
volume : concluding with his own reflection on that ad- 
missimi :~^' Thus does it generally happen in human life, 
fliat when danger attends the discovery and the profession 
of the truth, the prudent are silent, the multitude believe. 
aad impostors triumph." 

Of the DR£AMS AND VISIONS, of which he speaks; it is 
enough to answer him with the intuitive demonstration, 
that such sort of evidence for Christianity, might be as 
easily pretended for one religion as another; it is such 
as none but a desperate cause would appeal to, such 
as no rational man would respect, and no honest man 
nudntain ; not only of no nature to afibrd proof to the 
claims of a divine revelation, but itself unproved ; and 
not alone unproved ; but of its own nature, both morally 
and physically, incapable of receiving any sort of proof. 
TPbe heart smarts for the degradation of outraged reason, 
for the humiliation of torn and lacerated humanity ; that 
a Mosheim should talk of dreams jand visions—that it 
should come to this ! O Christianity, bow great are thy 

trhunphs ! 

* VoM,p.247. 


Of the HRALiNG OP DIREASBS9 by the invoking of a 
name. It is impossible not to see, that this anthor did 
not believe his own argument: because it is impossiUe 
not to know that no man in his senses could believe it, 
and impossible not to suspect, that so weak and foolish 
an argument, was by this auUior, purposely exhibited as 
one of the main pillars of the Christian evidence, in order 
to betray to future times, how weak that evidence was, 
and to encourage those who should come to live in some 
happier day when the choused world might better endure 
the being undeceived ; — to blow it down with their breath. 
Beausobre, Tillotson, South, Watson, Paley, and some 
high in the church, yet living, hai^e given more than pr^- 
nant inuendoes of their acting on this policy. 

Nothing is more obvious, than that persons diseased in 
body, must labour under a corresponding weakness of 
mind. There is no delusion of such obvious practi- 
cability on a weak mind in a diseased body ; as that 
which should hold out hopes of cure, beyond the promise 
of nature. A miracle of healing, is therefore of all miracles, 
in its own nature most suspicious, and least capable of 

It was the pretence to these gifts of healings that gave 
name to the Thefapeut€e^ or Healers ; and consequently sup- 
plies us with an infallible clue to lead to the birth-place and 
cradle of Christianity. The cure being performed by 
invocation of a name, still lights us on to the germ and 
nucleus of the whole system. Neither slight nor few are 
the indications of this magical or supposed charming 
operation of the Brutumfulmen ; the mere name only of the 
words, Jesus Christ, in the New Testament itself; and con- 
sequently neither weak nor inconsecutive are our reasons, 
for maintaining that it was in the name, and the name only, 
that the first preachers of Christianity believed ; that it 
was not supposed by them to be the designation of any 
person who had really existed, but was a vox et preeterea 
nihil, — a charm more powerful than the Abraxas, more 
sacred than Abracadabra: in short, those were but the 
spells that bound the services of inferior demons — this, 
conjured the assistance of omnipotence, and was indeed, 
the Grod's spell. " There is none other name under heaveti, 
(says the Peter of the Acts of the Apostles) given among 
men, whereby we must be saved." — Chap. iv. 12. 

61. Origen, ever the main strength and sheet-anchor 
ot the advocates of Christianity, expressly maintains, that 


** the miraculous powers which the Christians possessed, 
were not in the least owing to enchantments, (which he 
makes Celsus seem to have objected,) but to their pro^ 
nouncing the name I . E . S . U . S,* and making mention 
of some remarkable occurrences of his life. Nay, the name 
of I • E . S . U • S, has had such power over demons, that 
it has sometimes proved effectual, though pronounced by 
▼eiy wicked persons." — Answer to Celsus, chap. 6. 

62. << And the name of I . £. S . U. S, at this very day, 
composes the ru£9ed minds of men, dispossesses demons, 
cures diseases ; and works a meek, gentle, and amiable 
temper in all those persons, who make profession of 
Christianity, from a higher end than their worldly inte* 
rests/' — Ibtd. 517. So says Origen. No Christian will for 
a moment think that there is any salving of the matter in 
such a statement. Friar's balsam was found in every case 
without fail ; to heal the wound, even after a man's head 
was clean cut off, provided his head were set on again the 
fight way. 

63. '* When men pretend to work miracles, and talk of 
immediate revelations, of knowing the truth by revelation, 
and of more than ordinary illumination ; we ought not to 
be frightened by those big words, from looking what is 
under them ; nor to be afraid of calling those things into 
question, which we see set off with such high-flown pre- 
tences. It is somewhat strange that we should believe 
men the more, for that very reason, upon which w^ should 
believe them tiie less." — Clagit's Persuasive to an Ingenuous 
Trial of Opinions, p. 19, as quoted by Tindal, p. 217. 

' 64. St Chrysostom declares, '^ that miracles are only 
proper to excite sluggish and vulgar minds, that men of 
sense have no occasion for them, and that they frequently 
carry some untoward suspicion along with them." — Quoted 
in Middkton's Prefatory Discourse to his Letter from Rome, 
p. 104. 

In this sentiment it must be owned, that the Christian 
saint strikingly coincides with the Pagan philosopher 
Polybius, who considered all miracles as fables, invented 
to preserve in the vulgar a due sense of respect for the 
deity." — Reimmann, Hist. Ath. p. 233. 

65. The great theologian, Beausobre, in his immense 
Histoire de Maniche6, torn. 2, p. 568, says,t '' We see in 

* See similar mystical senses of the epithets, Christ and Cbrest, under 
the articles Serapis, and Adrian's Letter, 
t ** On Tpit dans I'histoire qne j*ai rapport^e, one sorte d'hypocrisie, qni 


the history which I have related, a sort of hypocrisy, that 
has been perhaps, bat too common at all* times: that 
churchmen not only do noi say what they think, but they 
do say, the direct contrary of what they think. Philo* 
sophers ia their cabinets ; out of them, they are content 
with fieUbles, though they well know that they are fables. 
Nay more : they deliver honest men to the executioner, 
for having uttered what they themselves know to be true. 
How many Atheists and Pagans have burned holy men 
under the pretext of heresy? Every day do hypocrites con- 
secrate, and make people adore the host, though as widl 
convinced as I am, that it is nothing but a bit of bread." 
06. The learned Grotius has a similar avowal : " He 
that reads ecclesiastical history, reads nothing but the 
roguery and folly of bishops and churchmen.''-^GfoliJ 

No man could quote higher authorities. 



A KNOWLBDGB of the character and tenets of that most 
remarkable set of men that ever existed, who were known 
by the name of Essenes or Thereapcuts, is absolutely 
necessary to a fair investigation of the claims of the New 
Testament, in the origination and references of which, they 
bear so prominent a part. 

The celebrated German critic, Michaelis, whose great 
work, the Introduction to the New Testament, has been trans- 
lated by Dr. Herbert Marsh, the present Lord Bishop of 
Peterborough, defines them as *' a Jewish sect, which 
began to spread itself at Ephesus, and to threaten great 
mischief to Christianity, in the time (or, indeed, previous 
to the time) of St. Paul ; on which account, in his epistles 
to the Ephesians, to the Colossians, and to Timothy ; he 
decbures himself openly against them." f 

n*a peut-^tre 6X6 quo trop commane dans tous les terns. C*est qae des 
ecd^astiqaea, non seuleraent ne diseat pM ce qu'ils pensent, imds 
disent tout le contraire de oe qu'ils pensent. Philosophes dans leur cabioal, 
bora delk, ils conteat des liabfes, quoiquHls sacheiit bien que ce sont des 
fables. Ils font plus ; lis llrrent au bourreau des gens dc biens pour 
I'aroir dit. CombieDs d*ath^es et dc pronhanes ont fait briilcr de saiiils 
personnages, sous pretexte d*hdr^sio I Tous les jours des hypocrites 
consacrcnt ct font adorer Thostie, bien qu'ils soicnt aussi conTaincQS que 
moi, que ce Q*est qu*un morcoau de pain.*' — Ibid, 
t MicliaeliSy vol. 4, p. 70. 


But mrdy this admisaon of the sect's beginning to 
spread itself at Ephesns, and its existence at C!olosse, and 
in the diocese of Timothy, to a sufficient extent to call for 
the serious opposition of one who^ in any calculations of 
chronology, nuist have been the contemporary of Jesus 
Christ ; is no disparagement of the fact of its preyious 
establishment in Egypt; while the admitted fact,* that 
tiiese three Epistles of St Paul, in which he so earnestly 
oi^^oses himself to this sect, w^re written brfore any one 
of our four Gospels, involves the d fortiori demonstraticm; 
that their tenets and discipline, whatever they were, were 
not corruptions or perversions of those gospds, however 
dMise gospels may turn out to be improvements or plagia- 
lisms upon the previously established tenets and discipline 
of that sect. 

Tiie ancient writers who have given any account of this 
sect, are Fbilo, Josephus, Pliny, and Solinus. Infinite 
perf^xity, however, is occasioned by modem historians 
attempting to describe differences and distinctions where 
there are really none. The Therapeuta and the Essenes are 
one and the same sect : the Therapeuta, which is Greek, being 
nothing more than Essenes, which is of the same sense in 
Egyptian, and is in fact a translation of it : — as, perhaps^ 
Surgeons, Healers, Curates, or the. most vulgar sense of 
Doctors, is the nearest possible plain English of Thbra- 
P£UTiB. The similarity of the sentiments of the Essenes, 
or Therapeutse, to those of the church of Rome, induced 
the learned Jesuit, Nicolaus Serarius, to seek for them 
an honourable origin. He contended, therefore, that they 
were Asideans, and derived them from the Rechabites, 
described so circumstantially in the S5th chapter of Jere- 
miah ; at the same time, he asserted that the first Christian 
m<mks were Essenes. 

Both of these positions were denied by his opponents, 
D^sius and Scaliger ; but in respect to the latter, says 
Michaelis, certainly Serarius was in the right. 

'^ The Essenes," he adds, ^^ were indeed a Jewish, and 
not a Christian sect.** Why, to be sure, it would be awk- 
ward enough for a Christian divine to admit them to the 
honours of that name before '' that reUgion which St. Au- 
gustine tells us ^ was before in the world,' began to be 
called Christian." (See Admission 12.) The disciples were 
called Christians first at Antioch (Acts). But sure, it was 
something more than the name that made them such ; they 

* It is admitted by Dr. Lardaer. 


were none the less what the name signified, ere yet it was 
conferred on them : and the Essenes had every thing bat 
the name/' 

'^ It is evident," continues Michaelis, ^' from the above- 
mentioned epistles of St Paul, that to the great morti- 
fication of the apostle, they insinuated themselves very 
early into the Christian church." 

But is it not, in reason, as likely that the Christians, 
who were certainly the last comersy should have insinuated 
themselves into the Therapeutan community t 

Ensebius has fully shown that the monastic life was 
derived from the Essenes ; and, because many Christians 
adopted the manners of the Essenes, Epiphanius took the 
Essenes in general for Christians, and confounded them 
with the Nazarenes : — a confusion to which the similarity 
of this name, to that of the Nazarites of the Old Testa- 
ment, might in some measure contribute. But we find 
this confusion still worse confounded, in the remarkable 
oversight of the passage, Matthew ii. 28, which betrays 
that Jesus himself was believed to be one of this fraternity 
of monks.*/ 

Montfaucon and Uelyot have attempted to prove them 
Christians, but have been confuted by Boubier. Lange 
has contended that they were nothing more than circum- 
cised Egyptians, but has been confuted by Uenmann.—- 
Marsh*sMichaelis, vol. 4, p. 79, 80, 81. 

*' It was in Egypt," says the great ecclesiastical historian, 
Mosheim, " that the morose discipline of Asceticism f 
(t. e. the Essenian or Therapeutan discipline) took its rise; 
and it is observable, that that country has in all tiroes, as 
it were by an immutable law or disposition of nature, 
abounded with persons of a melancholy complexion, and 
produced, in proportion to its extent, more gloomy spirits 
than any other parts of the world. It was here that the 
Essenes dwelt principally, long before the coming of Christ.*' 
— Mosheim, vol. 1, p. 196. 

* Matthew ii. 28. <* That it might be fulfilled which was Bpoken by the 
prophets. He Bball be called a Nazarene ;" that is (as we see from Epipha- 
nias)^ a ThereapeuU It is certain that none of the Jewish prophets had lo 
said. Some other equally sacred writings are referred to. Though their 
aeeomplishment by the mere resemblance of the name of the city in which 
Jesus IS said to have resided, to that of the order of monlis to which he was 
belieTed to have belonged, is a most miserable pun. The Jews, howe? er, 
who think it reasonable to admit that such a person as Jesus really existed, 
place his birth near a century sooner than the generally assumed epocha.— 
BoMnage Huioire den Ju\f$, 1. 5, c. 14, 16. 

t From the Greek oxrtcnfns^ exercUey dUcipUnCj study, meditation^ signi- 
fyiDg also M€{f'morl{fication. 


' It is not the first glance, nor a cnrsory observance, that 
will sufiiciently admonish the reader of the immense his- 
torical wealth put into his hand, by this stupendous admi^ 
sioH, this surrender of the key-stone of the mighty arch, — 
this giving-np of every thing than can be pretended for 
the evidences of the Christian religion. 

This admission of the great ecclesiastical historian (than 
whom there is no greater) will serve as as the Pythagorean 
theor^m«-the great geometrical element of all subsequent 
sci^ce, of continusd recurrence, of infinite application — 
ever to be borne in mind, always to be brought in proof — 
presenting the means of solving every difficulty, and the 
due for guiding us to every truth. " Bind it about thy 
neck, write it upon the tablet of thy heart"' — Every 
THING OP Christianity is of Egyptian origin. 

The first and greatest library that ever was in the world, 
was at Alexandria in Egypt The first of that most 
mischievous of all institutions — universities, was the 
University of Alexandria in Egypt ; where lazy monks and 
vrily fanatics first found the benefit of clubbing together, 
to keep the privileges and advantages of learning to them- 
selves, and concocting holy mysteries and inspir^ legends, 
to be dealt out as the craft should need, for the perpe- 
tuation of ignorance and superstition, and consequently of 
the ascendancy of jugglers and Jesuits, holy hypocrites, 
and reverend rogues, among men. 

All the most valued manuscripts of the Christian scrip- 
tures are Codices Alexandrinu The very first bishops of 
whom we have any account, were bishops of Alexandria. 
Scarcely one of the more eminent fathers of the Christian 
church is there, who had not been educated and trained in 
the arts of priestly fraud, in the University oi Alexandria^ — 
that great sewer of the congregated feculencies of fana- 

In those early times, the professions of Medicine and 
Divinity were inseparable. We read of the divinity stu- 
dents studying medicine in the School, or University of 
Alexandria, to which all persons resorted, who were after- 
wards to practice in either way, on the weak in body or 
the weak in mind, among their fellow creatures. The 
Thereapeuts, or Essenes, as their name signifies, were 
expressly professors of the art of healing — an art in those 
days necessarily conferring the most mystical sanctity of 
character on all who were endued with it, and the most 
convenient of all others for the purposes of imposture and 


wonderment. It was invariably consideied to be attainable 
only by ttie especial ^ft of heaven,* and no cure of any 
sort, or in any way effected, was ever ascribed to natnrad 
causes merely. Those who, after dne training in the 
ascetic discipline, were sent out from the University of 
Alexandria to practice their divinely acquired art in the 
towns and villages, were recognized as regular or canonical 
apostles : while those who had not obt^ned their credentiah 
from the college, who set up for themselves^ or who, after 
having left the college, ceased to recognise its app|pnt- 
ment» were csMed false apostles, quacks, heretics, and 
empirics. And in several of the early apocryphal scrip-* 
tures> we find the titles Apostolici and Apostactid (aposto- 
lical, and apostactical, t. e, of the monkish order of Apo»- 
tactitesy or Solitaires,) perfectly synonimous. Euselms 
emphatically calls the apostactical Therai>euts apostolical. 
** Philo (he says) wrote also a treatise on the contemplative 
Ufe, or the Worshippers ; from whence, we have borrowed 
tk^ things, which we allege concerning the manner of 
life of those apostolical men.'*t Indeed, Christ himself, is 
represented as describing his apostles as members of this 
solitary order of monks, and being one himself: — *' The^ 
are not of the world, even as I am not of the ihorltL** — John 
xvii. l& What then but monks ? The seceders or dis- 
senters (and of this class was St, Paul),j: upon finding the 
advantage of setting up in the trade upon their own inde^ 
pendent foundation, pleaded their success in miracles of 
healing, as evidence of their divine commission ; and abun- 
dantly returned the revilings of the Therapeutan college. 
Unaided by the lights oif anatomy, and untbundied on 
any principles of rational science ; recovery from disease 
could only be ascribed to supernatural powers. A fever 
was supposed to be a daemon that had taken up his abode 
in the body of the unfortunate patient, and was to be 
expelled, not by any virtue of material causes ; but by 
incantations, spells, and leucomancy, or white magic ; as 
opposed to necromancy, or black magic, by which diseases 
and evils of all sorts were believed to be incurred. The 
white fsogtc consisted of prayers, fastings,§ baptisms, 

* '* To another the i^ifts of healing, by the same Spirit. Have all the gHtrn 
of hetlinf^?*' I Cor. xH. — Query. How did he spend three years in Arabia, 
but in a conrs« of study for the ministry 7 

t O (\oyos) Vf/K fiim dfotpfiruta, ri uur^nf, c| 8> to ircpi r& fits raw amomokutw 
avSptt¥ 8icXi}Av6aficy. — Reel. Hiit. lib. 2, c. 17, A. X GvlIkU 1. 17. 

§ *' Howbeit this kind gocth not oat, bat by prayer and fasting.** Matt, 
xviil. 91. 


saoramenta, &c« which were believed to have the same 
power over good daemons^ and even over God himsell^ as 
the black magic had over evil daemons and their supreme 
head) the Devil. The trembling patient was only entitled 
to expect his core in proportion to his faiths to believe 
withoat Q]iderataBding> and to surrender his fortune and 
life itself to the purposes of his phjrsician, and to the 
biudness of imposing upon others, the deceits that had 
been practiced upon himself. 

Even to this day, the name retained by our sacied 
writings, is derived from the belief of their magical influ* 
tBCOy as a spell or charm of 6od, to drive away diseases. 
The Irish peasantry still continue to tie passages of 
8U John's SpdU, or St. John's God's-spell, to the horns 
of cows to make them give more milk ; nor would any 
]>owers of rational argument shake their conviction of the 
efficacy of a bit of the word, tied round a colt's heels, to 
prevent them from swelling. 

It will become physicians of higher claims to science 
mmd rationality, to triumph over the veterinary piety of the 
Bog of Allen, when their own forms of prescription shall 
no longer betray the wish to conceal from the patient 
the nature of the ingredients to which he is to trust his 
Ufe, nor bear, as the first mark of the pen upon the paper, 
the mystical hieroglyphic of Jupiter, the talismanic B^ 
under whose influence the prescribed herbs were to be 
gathered, and from whose miraculous agency their opera- 
tion was to be expected. 

The Thereapeutae of Egypt, from whom are descended 
the vagrant hordes of Jews and Gypsies, had well found 
by what arts mankind were to be cfyoled ; and as they 
boasted their acquaintance with the sanative qualities q£ 
herbs of all countries ; so in their extensive peregrinations 
through cdl the then knoMrn regions of the earth, they had 
not failed to bring home, and remodel to their own pur- 
poses, those sacr^ spells or religious romances, which 
they found had been successftilly palmed on the creduUty 
of r^note nations. Hence the Indian Chriskna might have 
become the Therapeutan head of the order of spiritual 

No principle was held more sacred than that of du 
necessity of keeping the sacred writings from the know- 
ledge of the people. Nothing could be safer from the 
danger of discovery than the substitution, with scarce 
a change of names, ** of the incarnate Deity of the Sanscrit 


Rimiance " for the imaginary founder of the Thereapentan 
college. What had been said to have been done in India, 
Goold be as well said to have been done in Palestine. 
Tho change of names and places, and the mixing up of 
Tarious sketches of the Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, and 
fioman mythology, would constitute a sufficient disguise 
to evade the languid curiosity of infant scepticism. A 
knowledge within the acquisition only of a few, and which 
the strongest possible interest bound that few to hold 
inviolate, would soon pass entirely from the records of 
human memory. A long continued habit of imposing upon 
others would in time subdue tlie minds of the impostors 
themselves, and cause them to become at length the dupes 
of their own deception, to forget the temerity in which 
^eir first assertions had originated, to catch the infection 
of tike prevailing credulity, and to believe their own lie. 

In such, the known and never-changing laws of nature, 
and the invariable operation of natural causes, we find 
the solution of every difficulty and perplexity that remote- 
ness of time might throw in the way of our judgment of 
past events. 

But when, to such an apparatus of rational probability, 
we are enabled to bring in the absolute ratificatioili of 
unquestionably testimony, — to show that what was in 
supposition more probable than any thing else that could 
be supposed, was in fact that which absolutelv took 
place, — wc have the highest degree of evidence of which 
history is capable; we can give no other definition of 
hiUorical truth itself. 

The probability, then, that that sect of vagrant quack- 
doctors, the Therapeutae, who were established in Egypt 
and its neighbourhood many ages before the period assigned 
by later theologians as that of the birth of Christ, were the 
original fabricators of the writings contained in the New 
Testament; becomes certainty on the basis of evidence, than 
which history hath nothing more certain — by the unguarded, 
but explicit — unwary, but most unqualified and positive, 
statement of the historian Eusebius, that '' those ancieut 
Therapeut€e were Christians, atid that their ancient writings 
were our Gospels and Epistles." * The wonder with which 
Lardper quotes this astonishing confession of the great 

* The above most important passage of all ecclesiastical records, is in the 
9d book, the 17th chapter, and &3d and following pages of his History. The 
title of a whole chapter (the fourth of the first book) of this work is, that 



pillar of the pretended evidences of the Christian religion,* 
only shows how aware he was of the fatal inferences with 
which it teems. 

It is most essentially observable, that the Essenes or 
Thereapeuts, in addition to their monopoly of the art of 
healing, professed themselves to be Eclectics ; they held 
Plato in the highest esteem, though they made no scruple to 
join with his doctrines, whatever they thought conformable 
to reason in the tenets and opinions of the other philo- 

^ These sages were of opinion that true philosophy, \ the 
greatest and most scdutary gift of God to mortals, was 
scattered, in various portions, through all the diiferent 
aects ; and that it was, consequently, the duty of every 
wise man to gather it from the several comers where it lay 
dispersed, and to employ it, thus re-united, in destroying 
the dominion of impiety and vice." :|: The principal seat 
of this philosophy was at Alexandria ; and '' ft manifestly 
appears/" says Mosheim,§ ^ from the testimony of Philo 
the Jew, who was himself one of this sect, that this 
(Eclectic) philosophy (of this Essenian or Therapcutan 
sect) was in a flourishing state at Alexandria when our 
Saviour was upon earth." — EccL Hist, Cent, 1, p. 1. 

1. We have only to collate the admission of the ortho- 
dox Lactantius, that Christianity itself ^^«5 the Eclectic 
Philosophy y inasmuch as that " if there had been any one 
to have collected the truth that was scattered and diffused 
among the various sects of philosophers and divines into 
one, and to have reduced it into a system, there would 
indeed be no difference between him and a Christian :"|| 
% To compare the various tenets and speculations of the 
different philosophers and religionists of antiquity with 
the strong and particular smatch of the Platonic philo- 
sophy, which we actually see pervading the New Testa- 
ment : and to add the weight in all reason and fairness 
due to the positive testimony of that unquestionably 
learned* and intelligent Manichaean Christian and bishop^ 
Faustus, — that *^ it is an undoubted fact, that the New 
Testament was not written by Christ himself, nor by his 

• Credibilily, vol. 2, 4to. p. 861. 

+ Obsenre well, the phrases, — ''* the philosophy — our philosophy ^^^ and the 
** true philosophy " occur throughout the Fathers, in a hundred passages for 
one, where ** Christianity ** should have been the word. 

I Moshelm, toI. 1, p. 160. 
\ Ibid, p. 87. 

II Admission No. 10 in the chapter of Admissions. 



apostles, but a long while after their time, by some 
nnknown persons, who, lest they should not be credited 
when they wrote of aflairs they were little acquainted 
with, aflixed to their works the names of apostles^ or of 
such as were supposed to have been their companionSb 
and then said that they were written according to them.*' — 
Faust, lib. 2. 

To this important passage, of which I resenre the 
original text for my next occasion of quoting it,* I hers 
subjoin what the same high authority objects, if possibly 
with still increasing emphasis, against the arguments of 
St. Augustine :t — ^' For many things have 1)een inserted 
by your ancestors in the speeches of our Lord, which, 
though put forth under his name, agree not with his faith ; 
especially since, — as already it has been often proved by 
us, — that these things were not written by Christ, nor his 
apostles, but a long while after their assumption, by 
I know not i^hat sort of half-jews, not even agreeiiig 
with themselves, who made up their tale out of reports 
and opinions merely ; and yet, fathering the whole upon 
the names of the apostles of the Lord, or on those who 
were supposed to have followed the apostles ; they men- 
daciously pretended that they had written their lies and 
conceits^ according to them." The conclusion is irre- 



From the more general account of that remarkable sect 
of philosophical religionists, the Egyptian Thereapeuts, 
which we have collected from the admissions of the most 

♦ In chapter 15. 

t *' Multa cnim a majoribus Testris, eloquiis Domini nostri inserta Terba 
sunt ; quae nomine signata ipsius, cum ejaa fide non coagruant, prasertim, 
quia, ut jam sspe probatum a nobis est, nee ab ipso hsc sunt, nee ab ejas 
apostoUs scripta, sed multo post eorum assumptionem, a nescio qui baa, et 
ipsis inter so non concordantibus iemi-jud^is, per famas opinJoDesque 
comperta sunt ; qui tamcn omnia eadem in apostolorum Domini conferentea. 
nomiua, vcl coram qui secuti apostolos Tiderentur, errores ac mendacU •■« 
sfcundum eos ss scripsisse mentlti sunt.** — Fau9t. lib. 83, c. 8. 


strenaons defenders of the evidences of the Christian 
religion ; we pass into the more immediate sanctuary of 
the sect itself, to learn from the unquestionable authority 
of one who was a member of their community, all that 
can now be known of what their scriptures, doctrines, 
discipline, and ecclesiastical polity, were. 

On the threshold of this avenue, we only pause to 
recapitnlate for the reader's admonition, the certainties 
of information already established ; which, carrying with 
him through the important discoveries to which we now 
a]»proach, he shall with the quicker apprehension discern, 
aad with the easier method weigh and appreciate the 
value of the further information to which now we tend. 
^ 1. The Essenes, the Therapeuts, the Ascetics, the Monks, 
ike Ecclesiastics, and the Eclectics, are but different 
Barnes for one and the self-same sect. 

2. The word Essene is nothing more than the Egyptian 
word for that of which Therapent is the Greek, each of 
Aem signifjring healer or doctor, and designating the 
diaracter of the sect as professing to be endued with the 
miraculous gift of healing ; and more especially so with 
respect to the diseases of the mind. 

& Their name of Ascetics indicaXed the severe discipline 
and exercise of self-mortification, long fastings, prayers, 
contemplation, and even making of themselves eunuchs for 
ike kingdom of heaven's sakej'^/^s did Origen, Melito, and 
others, who derived their Christianity from the same 
school; and as Christ himself is represented to have recog- 
nised and approved their practice. 

4. Their name of Monks indicated their delight in soli- 
tude, their contemplative life, and their entire segregation 
and abstraction from the world : which Christ, in the 
Gospel, is in like manner represented, as describing as 
characteristic of the community of which he himself was 
a member .*!/ 

ft. Their name of Ecclesiastics was of the same sense, 
and indicated their being called out, elected, separated 
ttom the general fraternity of mankind, and set apart to 
tke more immediate service and honour of God. 

6. Their name of Eclectics indicated that their divine 

* ** And there be eunuchs, which have made themseWeH eunuchs for the 
hinsfkim of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let iain receive it." 
Matt. six. 12. 

t *^They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.** John 
zvii. 16. **• I pray for them, I pray not for the world.** Ibid. 9. Surely, 
the world ought to be much obliged to him ! 



philosophy was a collection Of all the diverging rays of 
truth which were scattered through the various systems 
of Pagan and Jewish piety, into one bright focus — ^that 
their religion was made up of '' whatsoever thittgs are trut^ 
^whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever thinss are just, what' 
soever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever 
things are of good report — if there were any virtue^ and if there 
were any praise,'^ (Phil. iv. 8,) wherever found ; alil^e indif- 
ferent/ whether it were derived from '' saint, from savage, 
or from sage — ^Jehovah, Jove, or Lord/* 

.7. They had a flourishing university, or corporate body, 
established upon these principles at Alexandria in E^7pt> 
long before the period assigned to the birth of Christ. 

8. From this body they sent out missionaries, and had 
established colonies, auxiliary branches, and aflUiated 
communities, in various cities of Asia Minor ; which colo- 
nies were in a flourishing condition, before the preaching of 
St. Paul. 

9. Eusebius, from whom all our knowledge of eccle- 
siastical antiquity is derived, declares his opinion, that 
'' the sacred writings used by this sect, were none otheif than 
our Gospels, and the writings of the apostles ; and that 
certain Diegbses, after the manner of allegorical inter- 
pretations of the ancient prophets; these w^re their 
epistles." * 

10. It is certain, that the Epistles and Gospels, and the 
whole'system of Christianity, as conveyed to us upon the 
credit of the Fathers ; do at this day bear the character of 
being such an Eclectic epitome or selection from all the 
forms of religion and philosophy then known in the worlid^ 
as these Eclectic philosophers professed to have formed. 

11. It is certain that our three first Gospels were not 
written by the persons whose names they bear, but are 
derived from an earlier draft of the evangelical story^ 
which was entitled the Diegesis. 

With these lights in thy hand, enter reader, on the 
stupendous vista that I unlock for thee, by the best trans- 
lation I could make, and better than any that I could find 
ready-made, of the most important historical document ia 
the whole world : whichever be the second in importance. 

* Taxa V^tKos a ^n^rw apx"*^^ ^^ avrois ciroi <nryypanfi€era, fvay ytkta, 
ras rttv awoaroXwf ypcupas^ AIHTHSEIS tc riras'Kcera ro tiieos rofv iraXcu vpo^ufnm 
tpfiriywriKos — nrurroXai^ rcana €ivcu, — Emeb. EecL Hist. lib,2, cap, \6.J4U, ed» 
ColonieB AUobrogum, 1612, p. GU, ad literam D, Unea C. 


T%e Sixteenth C/iapter of the Second Book of tlie Ecclesiastical 

History, of Eusebius Pamphilus. 

** St.Mark^ the Evangelist, is said first to have been sent 
into Egypt, and to have preached there the same gospel 
wliich he afterwards committed to writing. There he 
established the churches of Alexandria ; and so great was 
the number of both men- and women that became believers- 
upon his first address, on account of the more philoso- 
phical and intense Asceticism, (which he both taught and 
practised,) that Philo has seen fit to write a history of 
their manner of living, their assemblies> their sacred feasts, 
and their whole course of life. 

1. He so accurately details the manner of living of those 
who with us have been called Ascetics, as to seem not 
merely the historian of their most remarkable tenets, nor 
as? being acquainted with them merely; but as having em- 
braced them ; and both joining their religious rites, and 
extolling those apostolical men, who, as it is likely, were 
descended' from Hebrews, and who therefore were wont 
to observe very many of the customs of the ancients, after 
a more Jewish fashion. 

2. In the first place, then, in the discourse which he ha^ 
written'co/icfrw/wg the contemplative life, or oi men of prayer : 
having pledged himself to add nothing to his history of 
Sr foreign nature, of his own invention, or beyond truth ; 
be mentions that they were called healers, or curates, and 
the women who were among them doctresses, or Thera- 
pentesses ; adding the reasons of such a designation, that 
as a sort of physicians, delivering the souls of those who 
applied to them from evil passions, they healed and 
restored them to virtue ; or on account of their pure and 
sincere ministry and religion with respect to the Deity. 

8. Whether, therefore, of himself, as writing suitably to 
their manners, Philo gave them this designation: or whe- 
ther> indeed, the first of that sect took the name when the 
appellation of Christians had as yet been no where an- 
nounced, it is by no means necessary to discuss ; 

4. So at the same time, in his narration, he bears wit- 
ness to their renunciation of property, in the first instance ; 

5. And that, as soon as they begin to philosophise, they 
divest themselves of all revenues of their estates ; 

6* And then, having laid aside all the anxieties of life ; 
and leaving society, they make their residence in solitary 
wilds and gardens ; 



7. *' For from the time that they resolved from enthu- 
siasm and the most ardent faith (which indeed was need- 
fnl), to practice themselves in the emulation of the pro- 
phetic life, they were well aware that converse vrith 
persons of dissimilar sentiments, would be unprofitable 
and hurtful : 

8. Even as it is related in the accredited Acts of the 
Apostles,* that all who were known of the apostles (luul 
imbibed their doctrine) were wont to sell their possessions 
and substance, and divided them among all, according 
as any one had need, so that there was not one among 
them in want ; 

9. For, whoever were owners of estates or houses, as 
the wordf says, sold them, and brought the prices of the 
things sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet, that it 
might be divided to each as every one had need. 

10. Philo relates things exacdy similar to these which 
we have referred to; bearing witness to their resemblance, 
even to the letter, saying, 

11. For though this race of men are to be found in all 
parts of the world: nor would it be fitting that either 
Greece or Barbary should not participate in so perfect 
a good ; yet they abound in Egjrpt, in each of the provinces 
called the Pasturages, and more especially in the neigh- 
bourhood of Alexandria ; 

12. And the best of men, from all parts of the world, 
betake themselves to the country of the Therapeutae, as 
to a colony, in some most convenient place ; such as is 
situate near the Lake of Maria,! on a small eminence, very 
opportune both on account of its safety, and the agreeable 
temperature of the climate. 

13. And so, after having described what sort of haUta- 
tions they occupied, he speaks of the churches ^ established 
throughout the country, as follows : 

14. In each parish tliere is a sacred edifice which is 
called the temple, and a monastery Jji in which the monks 
perform the mysteries of the sublime life, taking nothing 
with them, neither meat nor drink, nor any thing necessary 
for the wants of the body; but the laws, the divinelv 
inspired oracles of the prophets, and hymns,, and such 
other things as in which is understanding, and by which 
true piety is increased and perfected ; 

15. And among other things, he says, that their religious 
exercise occupies the whole time from morn till evening ; 

* Acts Ir. • t Note bene.. % Nota !>ene. 

^ Note bene. |) Note bene. 


16. " For those who preside over the holy scriptures, 
philosophise upon them, expounding their literal sense by 

17. Since they hold that the sense of the spoken mean- 
ing is of a hidden nature, indicated in a double sense,* 

18. They have also the writings of the ancients : and 
those who were the first leaders of their sect, have left 
them many records of the sense conveyed in those alle- 
gories : using which as a sort of examples^ they imitate 
tiie manner of the original doctrine : f 

19. And these things, it seems, are reported by a man 
who listened to the holy scriptures,as they expounded them; 

20. And, in short, it is very likely that those scriptures of 
the ancients, of which he speaks, were the Gospels, and 
the writings of the Apostles ; 

21. And that certain Dibgksbs,:]^ as it seems, of the 
ancient prophets, interpreted ; such as the Epistle of 
VnxHL to the Hebrews contains, and many others — these 
were the Epistles. 

22. So, again, he proceeds to write concerning the new 
Psalms which they make : 

83. For they do not confine themselves to contempla- 
tion, but they compose canticles and hymns to God, 
arranged conveniently in every measure, and in the most 
sublime sorts of metre. 

24. And many other things he relates in the discourse 
of which we treat ; 

25. But these it seemed necessary to recount, in which 
the characteristics of the ecclesiastical institution § are laid 

26. But if it seem to any one that what has been said 
is not strictly and essentially meant of the gospel polity, 
but may be thought to harmonise with other things than 
those referred to, he may be convinced by the very words 
of Philo, in order following (so he be but an impartial 
judge), in which he will receive an unanswerable testimony 
on this matter; for thus he writes : 

27. And laying down temperance || as a sort of founda- 
tion to the soul, Uiey build the other virtues upon it ; 

28. * Neither meat nor drink do any of them tcike before 
son-set,' as considering the business of philosophy worthy 
of the light, but the necessities of the body only apt for 
darkness ; 

* Nota bene. t NoU bene. % Nota bene. % Nota bene. 

I EyKp€n'maw, c9Hiinence^ temperance, obtHnence, from whence their name, 
EncraUles, or Abstainers. 


29. Whence to this they assigned the day, but only 
a small part of the night to that : 

30. And some of them think not of nourishment for 
three days, so much greater is their desire of under- 
standing ; • 

31. And some so delight themselves and triumph, as 
banquetted on wisdom, so richly and satisfactorily minis- 
tering her doctrine ; as to abstain for a double length of 
time, and scarce after six days to taste of necessary food 
in the way of eating ! 

32. These clear and i|;tdisputable remarks of Philo, we 
consider to be spoken of men of our religion only.* 

33. But if any one should yet be so hardened as to con- 
tradict these things, yet may he be moved from his incre- 
dulity, yielding to such cogent evidences as can be found 
with none, but only in the religion of Christians, according to 
the Gospel :\ 

34. For he mentions, that even women are found among 
the men of whom we speak, and that many of them are 
virgins, at an extreme age ; preserving their chastity, 
not from necessity, like the sacred virgins among the 
Greeks, but from a voluntary law, from their zeal and 
desire of wisdom ; 

35. With whom studying to live, they have abjured the 
pleasures of the body, no longer desiring a mortal offspring, 
but that which is immortal, and which 'tis certain that the 
soul which loves God can alone beget upon itself. 

cKi. From whence proceeding, he delivers these things 
still more emphatically : 

37. That their expositions of the holy scriptures are, 
by an under-sense, delivered in allegories ; j: 

38. For the whole divine revelation, to these men seems 
to resemble an animal, and that the words spoken are the 
body, but tlie soul is the invisible sense involved in the 
words: which it is their religion itself which first began to 
exhibit distinctively, as in a glass, putting the beautiful 
results of the things understood under the indecencies of 
the names. 

39. 'What need is there to add to these things, their 
meetings together, and their residences, — the men in one 
place, and the women in another ? 

40. And the exercises according to the custom this day 
continued among us, and which, especially upon the 
festival of our Saviour's passion, wc have been accus- 

• Nola bene. + Nota bene. 

X ** Which things are an allegory. '^^Gal. iv. 24. 


tomed to observe, in f astiogs^ in watchings^ and in studying 
the diviuc discourses '? 

41. And which are kept to this day in the same manner 
only among us : as the same author hath shown most 
manifestly^ and delivered in his own writing ; 

42. And especially relating the vigils of the great fes- 
tival, and the exercises in them, and their hymns, which 
are the very same as those used to be said among us ; 

43. And how, as one of them sang the psalm in a 
pleasing voice ; the others leisurely listening, took up the 
last stanza of the hymus ; and how, on the afore-named 
days, lying on beds of straw upon the ground, they would 
taste no wine at all ? 

44. As he has in so many words written. Nor would 
they eat any thing that had blood in it ; * that water only 
is their drink ; and hyssop, bread, and salt, their food. 

45. In addition to these circumstances, he describes the 
orders of preferment among those of them who aspire to 
ecclesiastical ministrations, — the offices of the deacons, the 
humbler rank, and the supreme authority of their bishops.f 

46. Whoever wishes a clear understanding of these mat- 
ters, may acquire it from the afore-mentioned work of this 
author. " But that Philo wrote these things with reference 
to those who were the first preachers of the discipline 
which is according to the Gospel, and to the manners first 
handed down from tlie Apostles, must be manifest to 
every man." J 

This conclusion on the whole matter is so strong, that 
though I am confident a more faithful translation of the 
whole cannot be made by any man, I recommend a refer- 
ence to the original, that the scholar may see at once that 
I have taken no liberty with my author; and have no 
occasion to conciliate his favour, or to deprecate his criti- 
cism. I offer him my own translation, not on the score of 
ita being mine, but on the score of its being as good as 
the best that could possibly be made, and better than any 
that is not the best. 

• *' For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no 
greater burthen than these necessary thin^^s : that ye abstain from meats 
offered to idols, and from blood, and from things stranicled, and from 

; from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well." — Acts 

xr. 29. 

t ** For they that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to them- 
selves a good degree." — 1 Tim. iii. IS. 

i Ori 8c T89 irfwres icripvKas rris Kara to wayytXMP StScurKoXxas, ra tc apxri^etf 
•^pof rmf aMo<rT9hMV ^^rri irofiaScSo/icya K0fra\afimf o ^iKuv Tainr*€ypa^, •wam>'ru 
li|\ar.— Ibid. 

74 PUILO. 



Op PhilOy or as be is commonly called, Philo-Judseus — 
Philo the Jew ; whom Easebius thus largely quotes ; it 
becomes of supreme importance that we should be able to 
ascertain the age in which he wrote^ and who and what he 
was; since his treatise on ^Uhe Contemplate life/* or 
Monkery^ is a demonstration, than which history could not 
possibly have a stronger, that the monastic institution was 
in full reign at and before his time. 

Philo«Judaeus was a native of Alexandria, of a priest's 
family, and brother to the Alabarch, or chief Jewish 
magistrate in that city. He was sent at the head of an 
embassy from the Egyptian Jews, to the Emperor Caius 
Caligula, a. d. 39, and has left an interesting recital of it, 
ususJly printed in Josephus. He also wrote a defence 
of the Jews against Flaccus, then President of E^pt ; 
yet extant. He was eminently versed in the Platonic 
philosophy, of which both his style and his opinions par- 
take. His works consist chiefly of allegorical expositions 
of the Old Testament. 

Eusebius places his time in the reign of Caius ClaudinSf 
the immediate successor of the Emperor Tiberius, and 
says of him, that he was a man not only superior to the 
most of our own religion, but by far the most renowned 
of all the followers of profane knowledge :* and that he 
was by lineal descent a Hebrew, and not inferior to any 
in rank at Alexandria; but by following the Platonic and 
Pythagorean philosophy, he surpassed all the learned men 
of his time. 

Eusebius is anxious to have it believed, that Philo was 
in such sense ^* one of us" as to have been to all intents 
and purposes a Christian : and intimates that ^* it was 
reported that Philo had met and conversed with St Peter, 
at Rome, in the reign of Claudius.'*t 

But alas, Philo has been insensible, or ungrateful, for 
the honours with which he was so distinguished, and 

^■tNfrg' opfmi»/9P9i¥ ircuScMU, ^wunifjunaros, — Ecc. Hist. lib. 2, c.4. 

i* Oricflu X07OS ixti tuna KAouSioy ewt nyf pMftifs cis ofuXuu^ tKl^m^ llerfm rmi 
c roTc atiifwrTorri, kcu' m cnrciicoY av c<if T0rt7c< — lib. 8, c. 15. 

COBOLLARl£8. 75 

tboagh he has so accurately described the discipline of a 
relirious community^ of which he was himself a member : 
1* Having parishes^ 2. Churches, 3. Bishops, priests, 
and deacons; 4. Observing the g^and festivals of Chris- 
tianity ; 5. Pretending to have had apostolic founders ; 
6. Practising the very manners that distinguished the 
immediate apostles of Christ ; 7. Using scriptures which 
fhey believed to be divinely inspired, 8. And which 
Eusebius himself believed to be none otiier than the sub- 
stance of our gospels; 9. And the selfsame allegorical 
method of interpreting those scriptures, which has since 
obtained among Christians ; 10. And the selfsame manner 
And order of performing public worship ; 11. And having 
Hiissionary stations or colonies — of their community estab- 
lished in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, 
Colosse, and Thessalonica ; precisely such, and in such 
circumstances, as those addressed by St. Paul, in his 
respective epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, 
l^hesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians ; 
and 12. Answering to every circumstance described of the 
state and discipline of the first community of Christians, 
to the very letter ; 13. And all this, as nothing new in 
niilo's time, but of then long-established notoriety and 
venerable antiquity: yet Philo, who wrote before Jose- 
phus, and gave this particular description of Egyptian 
monkery, when Jesus Christ, if such a person had ever 
existed, was not above ten years of age, and at least fifty 
years, before the existence of any Christian writing what- 
ever, has never once thrown out the remotest hint, that he 
Iiad ever heard of the existence of Christ, of Christianity, 
or of Christians. 



1. Should it turn out, that the text of Philo, as it may 
have come down to our times, presents material dis- 
crepancies from the report which Eusebius has here made 
of it ; that discovery would bring no relief to the cogency 
of the demonstration resulting from Euscbius's testimony 
merely ; because it is with Eusebius alone, that we are in 
this investigation concerned ; and. 


2. Because Christianity would be but little the gainer 
by overthrowing the credibility of Eusebius in thisinstance^ 
at so dear an expence, as the necessary destruction of his 
credibility in all others. If we are not to give Eusebius 
predit for ability and integrity, to make a fair and accurate 
quotation, upon a matter that could have no room for 
mistake, or excuse for ignorance ; if on such a matter he 
would knowingly and wilfully deceive us ; and the variations 
of the text of Philo, from the quotations he has given us, 
be held a sufficient demonstration that he has done so : 
there remains no alternative, but that his testimony must 
lose its claim on our confidence, in all other cases what- 
ever: with the credit of Eusebius must go, all that 
Eusebius*s authority upheld, and the three first ages of 
Christianity, will remain without an historian, or but as 

" A tale. 

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, 
Signifying nothing.*' 

But the evidences of the Christian religion are not yet in 
this distress. 

The testimony of Eusebius on this subject, is neither 
more nor less valid, for any confirmation or impeachment 
it might receive, from any extant copies of the writings of 

3. Because, nothing is more likely, than that the text of 
Philo, might have been altered purposely to produce sucb 
an appearance of discrepancy, and so to supply to Chris- 
tians, (what *tis known they would stop at no means to 
come by,) a caveat and evitation of the most unguarded 
and portentous giving-of-tongue, that ever fell from so 
shrewd and able an historian ; and, 

4. Because, nothing is more certain, than that no 
writings have ever been safe from such interpolations; 
the text of the New Testament itself, at this day, pre- 
senting us with innumerable texts, which were not con- 
tained in its earlier copies, and being found deficient of 
many texts that were in those copies.* 

5*. Wc have certainly Eusebius's testimony in this 
chapter, and in such a state as that it may be depended 
on, as being bona Jide his testimony, really and fairly 
exliibiting to us, what his view and judgment of Chris- 
tianity was, or— (the Christian is welcome to the alter- 
native !) 

* See chapter 16. 


6. And Eusebias*s testimony is Talid to the fall effect 
for which we claim it, and that is, to the proof of what the 
origin of the Christian scriptures was, as it appeared 


7. And the validity of his testimony cannot be im- 
peached in this particular instance, without overthrowing 
the authority of evidence altogether, opening the door to 
everlasting quibbling, turning history into romance, and 
making the admission of facts depend on the caprice or 
prejudice of a party.* 

8. And if what Eusebius has delivered in this chapter, 
cannot be reconciled to what he may seem to have 
delivered in other parts of his writings, it will be for those 
idio refuse to receive his testimony, here, to show how, or 
where he ever hath, or could have, delivered a contrary 
testimony more explicitly, intelligibly, and positively, than 
he has this. 

9. Nor can they claim from us, that we should respect 
bis testimony in any other case, when they themselves 
refuse to respect it, where it stands in conflict with their 
own foregone conclusion. 

10. And if, what he may anjrwhere else have said, be 
found utterly irreconcileable with what he hath here 
delivered, so as to convict him of being an author who 
cared not what he said ; the Christian again is welcome|to 
the conclusion on which his own argument will drive 
him, i. e. the total destruction of all evidence that rests on 
the veracity of Eukebius. 

11. And if Eusebius be not competent testimony to what 
Christianity was in his day,.£r$ it appeared to him; we hold 
ourselves in readiness to receive and respect any other 
testimony of the same age, which those who shall bring 
it forward, shall be able to show to be superior to that of 

12. But the conflict itself, which this most important 
passage has excited in the learned world, has thoroughly 
winnowed it from all the chaflf of sophistication, and in 
the admissions of those who have contended most stre- 
nuously against its pregnant consequences ; we possess the 
strongest species of evidence of which any historical 
document whatever, is capable. 

* In these Corollaries, be it obserTed, we respect the wi^e distinction 
between his testimony to miracles ; in which he speaks as a divine, from 
whom therefore truth is not to be too rigidly expected ; and hit testimony as 
«n historian, from whom nothing but truth is to be endured. 


13. The learnod Basnage* has been at the paSna of 
examining with the most critical accuracy^ the curious 
treatise of Philo, on which our Easebius builds his argu- 
ment, that the ancient sect of the Therapeutse were really 
Christians so many centuries before Christ, and were 
actually in possession of those very writings which have 
become our gospels and epistles. 

14. Gibbon^ with that matchless power of sarcasm, 
which, in so little said, conveys so much intended, and 
which carries instruction and conviction to the mind, by 
making what is said, knock at the door to ask admission 
for what is not said,t significantly tell us that, *' by proving 
diat this treatise of Philo was composed as eaily as the 
time of Augustus, Basnage has demonstrated, in spite qf 
Eusebius, and a crowd of modem Catholics, that the 
TherapeutSB were neither Christifins nor monks. It still 
remains probable, (adds the historian,) that they changed 
their name, preserved their manners, adopted some new 
articles of faith, and gradually became the fathers of the 
Egjrptian Ascetics.'* — Declifie atid Fall of the Roman Empire, 
chap. 15, note. 

15. Under the overt sense of this important criticism, 
the sagacious historian protects his call on our observance 
of the monstrous absurdity of a modem theologian at- 
tempting to demonstrate what primitive Christianity was, 
m spite of the only authority from which our knowledge 
of primitive Christianity can be derived, and challenging 
our surrender to his peculiar view of the subject, in pre- 
ference to the conclusions of a crowd of modem Catholics, 
who are certainly as likely to know, and as able to judge, 
as himself. 

16. Nor are we to overlook the palpable inference, that 
a demonstration that this treatise of Philo was written as 
early as the time of Augustus ; so far from demonstrating 
the conclusion which the demonstrator aims to establish, 
demonstrates all the premises and grounds of the very 
opposite conclusion. 

* Basnage, Histoire des Juifs, 1. 2, c. 20, et seq. 

f Could any jibe be keener than his remark on the conTenienee of the 
time fixed on by divine providence, for the introdaotioo of Christianity ; 
when the Pagan philosophers, and the Pagans generally, were become quite 
indifferent to the old forms of idolatry : — ** Some deities of a more recent 
and fashionable cast, might soon haTe occupied the deserted temples of 
Jupiter and Apollo, if in the decisive moment, the wisdom of proTidence 
had not interposed a genuine revelation.** — Cliap. 16. How honest mast 
tlM Figan priests have been, to have owned that their revelations were not 


17. The apology for this dilemma, so sarcastically sug- 
gested by 6iblK>iiy that '' it is probable that these Thera- 
peutSD changed their name," conveys the real truth of the 
matter, in the equally suggested probability, that their 
name was changed for them. It was not they who mnbraoed 
Christianity, but Christianity that embraced them. 

18. We know that those most admired compositions of 
Shakspeare and Otway, the ''Hamlet" and '''Venice 
Preserved," as now presented to the public, are but litde 
like the first draughts of them, as they fell from the pen of 
those great authors; yet no one doubts their proper 
origination, nor thinks of ascribing the merit of them to 
any other than those authors, though they be re-edited 
vriih thousands of various readings, and we are now 
ooDtent to recognise as the best copies, the " Hamlet" 
according to Malone or Garrick, and the " Venice Pre- 
served'' according to Colley Cibber. 

U9. Considering the remote antiquity in which all 
evidence on the subject must necessanly be obscured. So 
positive and distinct an avowal as this, of the very highest 
authority that could possibly be, or be pretended, that the 
gospels and epistles of the New Testament, constituted 
the sacred writings of the ancient sect of the Therapeutse, 
before the era which modem Christians have unluckily 
assigned as that of the birth of Christ ; supported as that 
avowal is, by internal evidence and demonstrations of 
those scriptures themselves, even in the state in which 
they have come down to us, and explaining and account- 
ing as that avowal does, for all the circumstances and 
phsBUomena that have attended those scriptures, which 
no other hypothesis can explain or account for, without 
calling in the desperate madness of supposing the ope- 
ration of supernatural causes: — we hold ourselves to 
have presented a demonstration of certainty; than which 
historv hath nothing more certain — that the writings con- 
tained in the New Testament, are hereby clearly traced 
up to the Therapeutan monks before the Augustan age ; 
and that no ancient, or equally ancient work, was ever by 
more satisfactory evidence, shown to have been the com- 
position of the author to whom it has been ascribed, than 
that by which the writings of the New Testament are 
proved to have been the works of those monks. 

20. To be sure they have been re-edited from time to 
time, and all convenient alterations and substitutions 
made upon them, " to accomodate them to the faith of the 


orihodox.**^ Some entire scenes of the drama have been 
rejected, and some suggested emendations of early critics 
have been adopted into the text; the names of Pontius 
Pilate, Herod, Archelaus, Caiaphas, &c. picked out of 
Josephns's and other histories, have been substituted in 
the place of the original dramatis personts : and since it 
has been found expedient to conceal the plagiarism, to 
pretend a later date, and a wholly different origination, 
texts have been introduced* directly impugning the known 
sentiments and opinions of the original authors : by an 
exquisite shuffle of ecclesiastical management, what was 
really the origination of Christianity, has been represented 
as a corruption of it The epocha and reign of monkish 
influence and monkish principles, has been wilftilly mis- 
dated; those who are known, and demonstrated by the 
clearest evidence of independent history, to have existed 
tor B,^es before the Christian era, are represented to have 
sprung up, in the second, third, or fourUi century of that 
era ; and in spite of the still remaining awkwardness and 
hideousness of the dilemma, that so pure and holy a 
religion, should come so soon to have been so universally 
misunderstood ; the monks who originated, are branded 
as the monks who corrupted ; the makers for the marrers: 
and it has remained for Protestant illumination, after 
sixteen hundred years of dark ages, to discover evidence 
that escaped the observance of the very authorities from 
which it is derived, and to show us divine inspiration, and 
more than human means for the exaltation and improve- 
ment of the human character, in the hands of monks and 
solitaries, eremites and friars. 

21. We have here the clearest and most complete 
solution of the difficulty that seems to have so much per- 
plexed the faith of the Unitarian Christian , Evanson, in 
his Dissonance of the Four Gospels ;f namely — that though 

* See Manifesto of the Christian Evidence Society. 

f This very ingeoious and interesting work, as published by one who 
was a preacher in the Unitarian connection, and who prbfesscs himself to be 
a disciple of Jesus Christ, is another, added to the many instances we meet 
with, of the correct and even powerful acting of the mind, in most able 
criticism, in deep research, and shrewd discernment, while yet labouring 
under an insanity, with respect to some particular modifications of thought, 
so egregious as to betray itself even to the obsci vance of a child. Mr. 
Evanson rejected the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John, and very many 
parts of St. Luke ; he rejected the Epistles to the Romans, to the Ephesians, 
to the Philippians, to 'Htus, and the Hebrews, the two Epistles of Peter, 
the three of John, and the Krvclations ; each of which he convicts of 
evident interpolation, and strong marks of forgery; yet, he believed in tha 
resurrection of Christ, and •' in all the obvious and simple, but importaut 
IrMlAjr, of the new covenant of the gospel.'*— Page 289, (the last.) 



they are to be received as the composition of Jews, cotem- 
porarieSy and even Mdtnesses of the scenes and actions 
they describe ; those compositions do nevertheless betray 
so great a degree of ignorance of the geography, statistics, 
and circumstances of Judea at the time supposed, as to 
put it beyond all question, that the writers were neither 
witnesses nor cotemporaries — neither Jews, nor at any 
time inhabitants of Judea. This, the learned Dr. Bret- 
Schneider* has demonstrated with respect to St. John in 
particular, most convincingly, in his admirable work, 
modestly entitled, Probabilia de Evangelii Johannis ifidole et 
engine ; in which he points out such mistakes and errors 
of the geography, chronology, history, and statistics of 
Judea, as no person who had ever resided in that country, 
or had been by birth a Jew, could possibly have com- 
mitted. ' 

22. The Therapeutae, we see, though not Jews, nor 
inhabitants of Palestine, were, says Eusebius, ^'it is 
likely, descended from Hebrews^ and therefore were wont to 
observe very many of the customs of the ancients, after 
a more Jewish fashion.'' Now, as those customs of the 
ancients could have been none other than ancient Pagan 
customs, their hereditary respect for every thing Jewish, 
accounts for their observing those ancient customs "after 
a more Jewish fashion,* and for the Jewish comple:^ion 
which the ancient Oriental or Grecian mythology would 
be made to wear, after passing through their hands. 

23. This account of the matter is the more confirmed, 
from the entirely incidental and undesigned character of 
the admission, as it appears in Eusebius, who lets it fall, 
without the least observance of the argument with which 
it teems, and without any intention of subserving the uses 
that that argument will supply ; and still further, by the 
known character of the Jews themselves, who have 
introduced the stories of the Pagan heroes, disguised in a 
Jewish garb, into their Old Testament, turning Ipthigenia 
into Jeptha's daughter, Hercules into Sampson, Deucalion 
into Noah, and Arion on the dolphin's back, into Jonah in 
the whale's belly ; &c. 8cc. 

24. ''The extensive commerce of Alexandria, (says 

* Bretschneider's work has been answered, but very ridiculously, by the 
learned professor Stein, of Brandenburgh, in a work entitled, Juthentia 
Evangelii Johannii Vindieata, in which Stein throws himself on the i«ii. 
atuwerdble argument, of having felt that gospel so particularly comfortable 
to his soul ; as a proof of its genuineness. 



Gibbon,) and its proximity to Palestine, gave an easjr 
entrance to the new religion. It was, at firsts* embraced 
by great numbers of the Therapeutse, or Essenians, of the 
lake Mareotis, a Jewish sect which had abated much of 
its reverence for the Mosaic ceremonies. The austere 
life of the Essenians, their feasts and exconmiunications. 
the community of goods, their love of celibacy, their zeal 
for martyrdom, and the warmth, though not ttie purity of 
their faith, already offered a very Uvely image of the 
primitive discipline. It was in the school of AJexandria, 
that the Christian theology appears to have assumed a 
regular and scientifical form ; and when Hadrian visited 
Egypt, he found a church composed of Jews and Greeks, 
sidSciently important to attract the notice of that inqui- 
sitive prince." — Gibbon^ chap. 15. 

The progress of Christianity was for a long time confined 
within the limits of this single city (of Alexandria); and 
so slow was the progress of this religion, that notwith- 
standing the rhetorical flourishes and hyperbolical ex- 
aggerations of the Fathers, ^^we are possessed of an 
authentic record, which attests the state of religion in 
the first and most populous city of the then known worid. 
In Rome — about the middle of the third century, and after 
a peace of thirty- eight years ; the clergy consisted but of 
one bishop,ybr(y-5tr presbyters,ybi/r/e£fn deacons,yor/y-hao 
acolythes, and Jifty readers, exorcists and porters. We 
may venture, (concludes the great historian) to estimate 
the Christians at Rome, at about ^fty thousand, when the 
total number of inhabitants cannot be taken at less than 
a million ; and of the whole Roman Empire, the most 
favourable calculation that can be deduced from the 
examples of Antioch and of Rome, will not permit us to 
imagine that more than a twentieth part of the subjects, of 
the Empire had enlisted themselves under the banner of 
the cross, before the important conversion of the Emperor 
Constantine." — Ibid. 

25. It should never be forgotten, that miraculously 
rapid as we are sometimes told the propagation of the 
gospel was, it was first preached in England by Austin^ 
the monk, under commission from Pope Gregory, towards 
the end of the seventh century. So that the good news of 
salvation, in travelling from the supposed scene of action 

* Yes, at first! at first ! Before the disciples were called Christiam «l 
Antioch — before the name of Jetun of Nazareth had been heard of il 


to this favoured country, may be calculated as having 
posted at the rate of almost an inch in a fortnight. 

26. This however, when compared with the rate at which 
the evidence of any beneficial effects of the reli^on upon 
the morals of its professors hath advanced, may be ad- 
mitted to be surprising velocity; for certain it is, that not 
the most distant hearsay of such effects, had reached the 
Court of King's Bench, Westminster, so late as the 7th of 
February, 1827. 

27. Here then have we, in the cities of Egypt, and in 
the deserts of Thebais, the whole already established 
system of ecclesiastical polity, its hierarchy of bishops, 
its subordinate clergy, the selfsame sacred scriptures, the 
selbame allegorical method of interpreting those scrip- 
tures, so convenient to admit of the evasion or amend- 
ment from time to time, of any defects that criticism 
might discover in them ; the same doctrines, rites, cere- 
monies, festivals, discipline, psalms, repeated in alternate 
verses by the minister and the congregation, epistles and 
gospels — in a word, the every-thing^ and every iota of 
Clunstianity, previously existing from time immemorial, 
and certainly known to have been in existence, and as 
such, recorded and detculed by an historian of unquestioned 
veracity, living and writing at least fifty years before the 
eailiest date that Christian historians have assigned to any 
Christian document whatever. 

28. Here we see through the thin veil that would hide 
the truth from our eyes, in the admissions that Christians 
have been constrained to make, that the Therapeutse were 
certainly theirs/ converts to the faith of Christ ; and that 
the manv circumstances of doctrine and discipline, that 
they had in common with the Christians, had previously 
prepared axid predisposed them to' receive the gospel. 
We find that the faith of Christ actually originated with 
them, that they were in previous possession, and that 
those who, by a chronological error, or wilful misrepre- 
sentation, are called the first Christians, were not the 
converters of the Therapeutae, but were themselves their 

29. This accounts for a phenomenon that every where 
meets us, and which were otherwise utterly unaccount- 
lUble ; that the religion of one who had expressly ad- 
monished his disciples, that his kingdom was not of this 
world, and which purports to have been first preached by 
unambitious and illiterate fishermen, should in the verv 

G 2 ^ 


first and earliest docaments of it that can be produced, 
present us with all the full ripe arrogance of an already 
established hierarchy; bishops disputing for their pre- 
rogatives, and throne-enseated prelates demanding and 
receiving more than the honours of temporal sovereignty, 
from their cringing vassals, and denouncing worse than 
inflictions of temporal punishment against the heretics 
who should presume to resist their decrees, or dispute 
their authority. 

80. We find the episcopal form of government, even 
before the end of the first century, fully established ; and 
if not the very Galilean fishermen themselves, at least 
those who are called the apostolic fathers, and who are 
supposed to have received their authority and doctrine 
immediately from them, established in all the pride, pomp, 
and magnificence of sovereign pontifis, and lords of the 
lives and fortunes,* as well as of the faith of their flocks ; 
and every where inculcating, as the first axiom of all 
morality and virtue, that there was no sin so great, as that 
of resistance to the authority of a bishop. 

31. *' Since the time of Tertullian and Irenssus, it has 
been a fact, as well as a maxim. Nulla ecclesia sine episcopo 
—no church without a bishop." — Gibbon, 

82. We find Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, even while 
the Apostles, or John, at least, is supposed to have been 
living, venturing to stake his soul for theirs, and himsel f 
the expiatory ofiering, for those who should duly obey their 
bishop; and, 

33. Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria the very seat and 
centre of the Therapeutan doctrine, in his epistles to 
Novatius, maintains that schismatics, or those who should 
venture to follow any opinions unsanctioned by the 
bishop, were '' renegadoes, apostates, malignants, par* 
ricides, anti-christs, blasphemers, the devil's priests, 
villainous, and perfidious, were without hope, had no right 
to the promises, could not be saved, were, no more Chris- 
tians than the devil, could not go to heaven, the hottest 
part of hell their portion, their preaching poisonous, 
their baptism pestiferous, their persons accursed, &c. 

* St. Peter put Ananias and Sapphira to death, for not giTing him all the 
money he wanted. — Acts ▼. St. Paul ordered the CoriutMan *Uo be 
deli? ered to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, for having overlooked 
the rules of the Therapeutan college, in a love affliir."— I Corinth, v. The 
power of the church could never have been more fully established than when 
such outrageous injustice was above all responsibility. 


tLC., and mnch more^ to the same heavenly-tempered 

34. Snch a state of things, such sentiments and lan- 
guage^ and the like thereof^ invariably fonnd as it is in 
die very earliest documents of Christianity that can be 
tidduced^ and attested by the corroboration of independent 
historical evidence^ is utterly incongruous^ wholly irre- 
concileable and out of keeping with any possibility of the 
existence of the circumstances under which the Christian 
revelation is generally supposed to have made its appear- 
ance on earth. 

35. But it is in perfect probability and in entire coin- 
cidence vidth all the circumstances discovered to us by 
this wonderful passage of Eusebius^ from whom we learn 
that the Evangelist^ St. Mark, was believed to have been 
the first who extended his travels into Egypt, and became 
the founder of this same Therapeutan church, in the city 
of Alexandria, by preaching in the first instance to them, 
fhe gospel which has come down to us under his namcf 

36. Even the necessary decency of supposing that at 
least one of the Evangelists should have written a gospel 
in the language of his own country, has been given up, 
with the pitiful apology, that the invincible unbelief of the 
Hebrew nation, rendered the gospel which St. Matthew 
may be supposed to have written in Hebrew, not worth pre- 
serving. So that no gospel, in the language of the country 

• Qaoted In the Principles of the Cyprianic Age, p. 19. A very rare and 
evrioMB work (by J. S. that is, John Sage, a Scottish bishop, 1695,) pre- 
•enred in Sion College library, from whence lent to my use, by the Rey. 
Dr. Oaskin, Secretary of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. 

t But what if Mark himself, as i^vell as his colleagues, were really^ no 
Jews at all, but native Egyptians, and bishops of this pre-exittent Thera- 
peatan church; the words of Eusebius may present a different sense to the 
eye of fidth, they adroit of no other rational understanding. 

Tbtw 8« ftapKoy -rptorov ^ouruf ciri ti}s vwyxntrB arfiKafitvov ro ^vayy^Ktoy o 8i} koi 
9wrfpO!i^o, m^pv^cu, tKK\riffias t€ irptirov €v mm\s AXe|ov8f>«af avvrrfiaff^agf 
roffmmi 8* apa rtov avTo^i^frnruTTWKartw irKri^s a»bpoav ra kcu ywaiKmf tic wpamis 
mn€o\ris <rw€(mi 8i aamierevs pXaaopurromfs re kcu (r^fwron/s, ms kcu ypa^s 
tan^* a^icMTot ras HiarpiSas, kcu ras awnXwrui ra t§ ovfiwoaia ko/l waffw Ttiv oAAipf 
re fiia vpirp\v rov ^i?Mya—i. e, *• But tkU Mark, they say, firU betook him- 
8e(f into KgyPU and preached the goupel, that which he aUo wrote, and 
Jhnt ettabliMhed the churches qf Alexandria ; and such a multitude, both 
e^f men and women, were assembled upon his first attempt, on account qf 
his more philosophical and severe asceticism, that Philo held it worthy to 
tommit to writing an account qf their exercises and assemblies, their 
meals, and their nhoU discipline qf life.** Such is the whole of the ]6tli 
chapter of the second book of Eusebius** Ecclesiastical History, discover- 
ing to us, the now demonstrated and indisputable fact, that monkery or 
Mceticism, was the first and earliest type of Christianity ; that its first 
preachers were monks ; and that not only tne doctrines, but that the gospels 
which contain them, were already exUnt in the world, many years before 
the epecha assigned to the birth nf Christ. 


in which its stapendous events are said to have happened, 
can be shown to have been ever in existence. 

We shonld naturally think, that any thing rather than an 
account of events that had really happened, must hare 
been intended by English authors, who chose to write tke 
history of England, in any other language than Engliih, 
But the conduct of the Evangelists is still more unacconnt- 
able, in that they must have gone so much out of their 
way, to deprive their countrymen of the knowledge of 
salvation, to write in a language, that 'tis certain they could 
never have understood themselves, without divine inq>i- 
ration. Are we to suppose that persons of their mean and 
humble rank, in the most barbarous province of the Roman 
Empire^ were better educated than persons of the same 
calling at this day in any country in Christendom, and 
that tne fishermen of the Galilean lake, could handle the 
pen of the ready writer, in an age, ages before the age, in 
which, as yet, even prelates, priests, and princes, were 
marksmen, and comprehended their whole extent of lite* 
rature, in the sign of the X. 



In order to enable the reader to see and apply the force 
of these admissions and their corollaries, and for the 
innumerable necessities of reference throughout this 
DiEGESis, I have presented him with the best account 
of the times and places usually assigned as those of the 
first publication of the several books of the New Testa- 
ment, on the very highest authority that Christians them- 
selves can affect to refer to on this subject, which he will 
find in the chapter of Tables. 

1. Upon referring to this, it will be seen, that the 
highest authorities admit, that all of the epistles were 
written some considerable time before any of the four 
gospels ; and as a necessary consequence it follows, that 
they must have been written at a still more considerable 
length of time, before any one of those gospels could have 
come into general use and notoriety. 

2. Nor must we forget, that from the very nature of 
epistolary writing, the information contained in letters. 


that would necessarily be put in the channel of conveyance 
to the persons to whom they were addressed^ immediately 
upon being written, must as necessarily outrun the slow 
gradual and uncertain arrival of information conveyed in 
general treatises, which were no more one man's business 
than another, and which might remain unknown to the 
MajfMrity of Christians, even on the very site of their most 
extended publication. 

& Add too, the equally essential calculation of the 
effect of distance of places, in those remote ages, when 
our arts and means of conveyance were utterly unknown, 
which would necessarily render a published narration of 
events that had occurred in a distant province, of infinitely 
tardier authentication, than any epistles sent by hand, as 
tliose of the New Testament purport to be, and only pass- 
ing to and from the comparatively neighbouring cities of 
Corinth, Ephesus, and Tbessalonica. 

4. Upon the admitted fact, that the most important of 
these epistles, (say, that to the Galatians) was written 
eleven or twelve years before the earliest date of any one 
of our gospels, we may fairly put in challenge, that that, 
or any other of the epistles, must have been received, read, 
and known, even many years, before the credit of the 
gospels was established. 

5. These admissions seem to have been yielded, with 
however ill a grace, by theologians, on account of the 
manifestly greater difficnities, that would attend the ad- 
mission of the opposite hypothesis ; to wit, that, of the 
prior existence and prevalence of the gospels ; which would 
palpably throw the language and style of these epistles in 
reference to those gospels, sheer out of the latitude of all 
possibility of being received as the compositions of the 
cotemporaries of the Evangelists. 

6. Nor is there more than one single passage in the 
whole of these epistles, that so much as appears to con- 
flict with this arrangement ; and as that is a verbal coin- 
cidence merely, it can hardly be held sufficient to over- 
throw the universal consent supported by the manifest 
sense and character of every other chapter and verse of 
those epistles. 

That passage is 1 Cor. xi. 24, 25, referring to the insti- 
tution of the sacrament, in which the Apostle says, ^* 1 
ham received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, 
that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, 
took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said. 
Take, eat, this is my body, which is broken for you : this do in 


remembrance of me. After the same manner also, he took the 
cup, when he had supped, saying. This cup is the New TeitU" 
meat in my blood: this do, as oft as ye drink it, in rememr 
brance of me. 

This passage, mdced, has the appearance of being a 
direct quotation from the text of Luke's gospel, xxii. 
▼erses 19, 20. '' And he took bread, and gave thanks, and 
brake it, and gave unto them, saying. This is my body, wkiek 
is given for you : this do in remembrance of me. Likeurise 
also the cup, after supper, saying. This cup is the New Tester 
ment in my blood, which is shed for you/' 

If there were no relieving alternative, but that the 
former of these passages must be acknowledged to be 
a quotation from the latter, as certainly no work could 
be quoted before it existed; the arrangement, which it will 
be seen by Dr. Lardner's table, makes the Epistle to have 
been written at least six years before the Gospel, is con- 
victed of anachronism; and as far as this evidence is 
concerned, divines are thrown again upon the stakes of 
all the difficulties that attend the hypothesis they have 
been at such pains to evade. 

1. But the evidently mystical sense of the words them- 

2. The distinct declaration of the apostle in this place, 
that he had receive.d what he delivered yrom the Lord ; 

3. And in other places (Gal. i. 11), that '' the gospel which 
he preached was not after man ; for he neither received it of many 
neither was he taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ: 

4. The most striking resemblance and coincidence of 
these words with the formularies and ritual of the Pagan 
mysteries of Eleusis ; 

5. And the admission in the preface of Luke's Grospel, 
that his work was only a compilation of previously existing 
documents, and derived in common witli the works which 
many had taken in hand before him to copy from the 
DiEGBSis,* or original narration preserved in the sacred 
archives of the church : 

These are arguments entirely sufficient to relieve the 
dilemma, and to leave it rather probable that Luke took 

* The first verse of St. Luke*s Gospel, if Oospel-readors could bat nee 
iNrhat was under their nose, would prevent their ever more pretending that 
the Gospels were original compositions. '* Forasmuch as many had taken 
in hand to set the Dieoesis ifi order,** which was the original from which 
the Apocryphal Gospels were taken, and afterward^ the improved versions 
ascribed to Matthew^ Mark, and Luke, which obtained final approbation, 
and so caused not only the previous versions, but the Dibgbsis itself, fronr 
which they were all uken, to be laid aside. 


his account from the same document which the apostle 
had previously quoted^ or even firom the text of the 
aposUe himself. 
A ' Thus, no exception from the general rule remains ; and 
we must admit, with all its consequences, the prior exist- 
ence of these epistolary writings, detailing, as they do, the 
history of communities of Christians, and fully established 
churches in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippic 
Colosse, and Thessalonica, '' rooted and grounded in the 
faith;'— y beloved of God/'—'' calkd of Chitst Jesus;'—** in 
every thing enriched, in all utterance and all knowledge;*-^ 
" coming behind in no good gift;* and having, as the apostle, 
in the case of the Gcdatian church, emphatically declares, 
so certainly received the only true and authentic Gospel, 
that *' if even the apostle himself, or an angel from heaven, 
should preach any other gospel than that which they had 
received, LET him be accursed." Gal. i. 8. — See Syn^ 
tagma of the Evidences, p. 75. 

6. Here we find the Gospel already so fully established, 
that there was a sense in which it could be said that it had 
been preached unto every creature under heaven (Colos. i. 23), 
before the date assigned to any one of the gospels that 
have come down to us, before any one of the disciples 
had suffered martyrdom, before any one of them could 
have completed his commission. Here we find a spiritual 
dynasty established, exercising the most tremendous 
authority ever grasped by man, not merely over the lives 
and fortunes, minds and persons, but over the supposed 
eternal destinies of its enslaved and degraded vassals, and 
confirmed by so strong an influence over all their powers 
of resistance, that its haughty possessor could bear them 
witness that they were ready to pluck their eyes out, and give 
them to him. Here we find churches cuready perfectly 
organized " to their power," yea (and the Apostle boasts), 
beyond their power, contributing to the pomp and splen- 
dour of their ministers, and beseeching them, with much 
entreaty, to take their money from them.* (2 Cor. viii. 4). 

7. Here we find the distinct orders of bishops and deacons 
already reigning in the plenitude of their distinctive autho- 
rities; and the bishops, forsooth, the proudest of the proud, 
already of such long prescription in their seat of power, 
as often to have abused that power, and to need admoni- 
tions " not to be self -willed, not to be given to wine, no strikers, 

^ And what goes with the gtory of the Apostles, meeting with such ill 
saeceM as to buie to lay down their lives for their testimony ? It is not 
only not tme, bet not concelrable to be true ; it out-berod*8 Herodrind oftt- 
Ues the coufistency of romance ittelf. 


and w>t given to filthy lucre/* (Tit i. 7,) as some of that 
rig^t-Teverend order must have been proved to be^ ere such 
admonitions could have been called for; yet called for 
they were, and necessary they had become^ as the reader 
will see by the table, some eight or ten years before the 
date assigned to the writing of the four Gospels. 

'< The Essenians, of whom Philo has written the history^ 
were confessedly Pythagoreans, and I think we may see 
some traces of these people among the Druids. They 
existed before Christianity^ and lived in buildings called 
monasteria or monasteries, and were called Koinobioi* 
<nr CScenobites. They were of three kinds, some never mar- 
ried, others of them did. They are most highly spoken of 
by all the authors of antiquity who have named them.''—* 
Tke Celtic DruUU, by Chdfrey Higgins, Esq.f a. d. 1827, 
p. 126. 'r> 

Were there any degree of difficulty in accounting for 
such a scheme of tyrannous aggrandisement, and of ob- 
taining unbounded power and influence over the subju- 
gated reason of mwkind, philosophy, that forbids all 
supposition of supernatural agency, would acknowledge 
that difficulty; but to imagine any, in acco anting for the 
rise and progress of Christianity, we must^ by a laborious 
^ort of imagination, imagine nature to be the very reverse 
in every thing from what we experience it to be ; we must 
suppose a man to be at a loss to find his own head ; we 
must suppose Infinite Wisdom teaching trickery to a thief, 
and the orchestra of the spheres suppljring resin for a 
fiddlestick-— introducing our €rod not to extricate the 
mystery of the scene, but to sweep the stage, and grease 
the puUeys. 

1ii»^W^— — i— W— — i I 



1. ** Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their' s is the kingdom 
of heaven." — Matt. v. 8. 

This, the first principle put into the mouth of the Gali- 
lean Thaumaturge, was silso the first principle of the 

* KoiroSuMr^Mying in common,. Acts !▼. 82. Hycanois mram-a icowa — ^* tkeg 
had aU things in common," 

t Mr. Higgius' testimony is the more taluable, as it is that of a witness 
aterse to the conclusions to which he marshals us the way. His splendid 
work, iostructiTe and interesting as it is in the iughest degree, though 
fvperflnottsly orthodox, has delightfully beguiled the tedium of many of my 
p/mot^houra f 


Tberapeutae, and as such bad been known and taught for 
ages before the time assigned to the first publication of 
tibe Gospel. 

It is to be found in the preyiousW existing writings of 
Menander, in the sentence Sec vofjuZovS* oc irfvtirfc ra>v dccuv — 
We ought to consider the poor as especially belonging to the 
gods ; and in the ancient Latin adage, '' Bon» mentis 
soror panpertas" — Poverty is the sister of a good mind. It 
is observable, that this Menander the comedian, is not 
only quoted by name, by the first of the Fathers (not 
apostolical), Justin Martyr, in bis apology to the Emperor 
Adrian, as one of the authorities with whom the Christians 
held so many sentiments in common, but is again plagi- 
arised into the text of 1 Cor. xv. 33 — ^uf>ov<nv rfiii xpn^^ 
ofuXuu KOKoi — '' Evil communications corrupt good man- 

2. ** And the disciples came and said unto him, Why speakest 
thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them. 
Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the king* 
dom of heaven, but to them it is not given J' — Matt xiii. 10. 
** Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of 
God, but unto them that are without, all these things are done 
in parables; that seeing, they may see and not perceive, and 
hearis^, they may hear and not utiderstand." — Mark iv. 11. 

Surely, here, and in the innumerable passages to the 
same enect, the principle of deceiving the vulgar is held 
fo^ in its most disgusting deformity. Here the double 
and mystical-sense system, as adopted by the Therapeutie, 
is put in full exemplification. 

8. '* And tliere be eunuchs, which have made themselsKB 
eunuchs for the kingdom of heavens sake. He that is able io 
receive it, let him receive tt.** — Matt xix. 12. 

Let the reader only ask himself the obvious questions, 
what eunuchs could they be ? Certainly, not followers of 
the law of Moses, which held a personal defect, however 
involuntarily incurred, as disqualifying the unfortunate 
from ever entering into the congregation of the Lord, 
Deut xxii. I. Nor was a future state of rewards ever 
propounded to the selfishness or ambition of the children 
of IsraeL 

4. John the Baptist is described as a Monk, residing in 
the wilderness, practising all the austerities of the contewk* 
plative life, neither eating nor drinking in observance of the 
demands of nature ; '' his food was locusts and wild-honey :" 
and not only a monk^ but a father confessor, since ^ all 
the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, were aU bap- 


tised of bim, confessing their sins J* Here^ then, is certainly 
an Ascetic — in the strictest circnmstances of description, 
a Monkish confessor — the admitted forerunner of Christ, 
of whom he is represented as sajring^ that '' Moses and 
the prophets were until John the Baptist^ bat since then 
the kingdom of Grod * was preached/' The great absurdity, 
however, of representing the sinless Jesns as receiving 
baptism of John for the remission of his sins, would have 
been evaded, had the compilers of our Grospels stuck to 
the text of ihe Grospel according to the Hebrews, or that 
of these Hebrew-descended Therapeuts, which Lessing 
and Niemeyer f have so convincingly shown to have been 
the original from which their legends are copied, and from 
which it appears that Jesus actually refused to be bap- 
tized, saying, '^ What sin have I committed, that I should 
be baptized by him?'' And how could that horrible spe- 
cies of self-martyrdom, the greatest evidence of sincerity 
in the faith that could be imagined, have been practised 
**for the kingdom of heaven's sake,*' if the kingdom of heaven 
had not been propounded to the faith of these visionaries 
as the reward of such a sacrifice, sufficiently long before, 
and sufficiently notoriously, to be quoted thus as an his- 
torical example, by the speaker in the text of Matthew? 

It is evident that Origen, the most distinguished and 
learned of all the Christian Fathers, must have read Christ's 
recommendation of this suicidal act in its very strongest 
sense, or have found it in some earlier copies of the Gospel 
than have come down to us, urged in stronger terms, or 
his excellent understanding would never have fallen under 
the horrors of a belief that it was necessary to imitate the 
example thus commended, and to prepare himself for 
singing in heaven, by spoiling his voice for preaching upon 

5. But Matt, xviii. 15, betrays, in the most indisputable 
evidence, the previous existence and established discipline 
of a Christian church, such as that of the Therapeutae is 
described to have been, from any length of time anterior to 
the Christian era. 

*' Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go 
and tell him his fault between thee and him alone : if he shall 
hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother: 16 But if he will not 
hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the 

* This phrase, the kingdom qf.God, and all its synonymes, was peculiarly 
cburacteristic of the monkish fraternity of Egypt — the dynasty of priests, as 
ptramonnt to that of lungs. 

t Qnotod in Biarsh's Blichaelis, and hereafter in this Dikobsis. 


wmUh of two or three witnesses, every word may be established. 
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it u$Uo Thb 
Church : but if he neglect to hear Th£ Church, let him 
be unto thee an heathen man and a publican* 18 Verily, I say 
mnto you. Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be bound 
in heaven," &c. &c. 

If this does not involve all that the unwary admissions 
of Ensebius and Epiphanins would lead us to» even the 
previous existence of the whole Christian djrnasty in all 
its corruption^ or in all its purity, long anterior to any time 
when such language could have been used, or the &>spel 
which contained such language could have been written ; 
if it betray not its design to subserve the purposes of eccle- 
siastical usurpation ; if it savour not of popery in the 
rankest tank that ever pope himself was popish ; there 
is no skill in criticism to discover any truth below the 
surface of expression — ^no wrong in any wrong that can 
be put off as right — ^no Rome in Italy — no day-Ught in die 

6. ^* Remember the words of the LordJesuSy how he said. It 
tt more blessed to give than to receive." — Acts xx. 35. 

No such words as these are contained in either of our 
four Gospels ; they must, therefore, have been contained 
in some gospel which previously existed, which was known 
and established in the esteem of the persons who were 
thus reminded of it, and which therefore ought not to have 
been rejected. 

It is, I think/' says Lardner, (vol. 1, p. 71, 4to. edit.) 

a just observation of Dr. Prideaux, that almost all that 
is peculiar in this sect, is condemned by Christ and his 

But from this admission follows, at any rate, the cer- 
tainty of the previous notoriety of this sect, and of those 
tenets which were peculiar to it. 

And if, excepting the " almost all that was peculiar to this 
sect," which Christ and his apostles condemned, there yet 
remained something which was peculiar to this sect, which 
they adopted, what other conclusion can follow, than that 
the Christian tenets were but a reformation upon the pre- 
existent Essenian principles, and had no claim of them- 
selves to a character of originality? We say, in like 
manner, at this day, that our Protestant church condemns 
almost all that is peculiar to the church of Rome, while in 
Aat condemnation itself is involved an admission of its 
prior existence^ and of its common origin. There can be 


no conceiyable reason why the peculiar tenets of a parti- 
cular sect should be singled out for particular condemna- 
tion, unless the condemners stood in some more imme- 
diate relation, or knew something more particularly of the 
tenets so condemned, than of any other condemnable 

The force of so particular a condemnation of almost all 
thai was peculiar, inyolves as particular an approbation 
and sanction of whatever it was that was not included in 
so particular a condemnation. 

Not to object, that, in ordinary fairness, the gauging of 
the Essenian tenets so as to determine which, and mw 
many of them, amounted to almost all, should hardly be 
trusted to the fidelity of those who have the strongest 
interest in disparaging and under-rating those tenets. 

Again, the conjoining Christ and his Apostles as concurring 
in the condemnation of almost all that was peculiar to this 
sect, is assuming a concurrence unsupported by evidence, 
and inconsequential in reason. 

It by no means follows, that he and they, in every in- 
stance, must have approved and condemned by the same 
rule ; the need they had of being instructed by him, is a 
reason, and the rebukes they frequently received from him, 
is a proof, that ^Aetr judgments and his might be thereveim 
of each other. 

Nor is it a just and fair conclusion, that all the apostles 
of Christ condemned what it cannot be shown that more 
than one of them condemned, and which all the rest may 
in all probability have approved. 

Nor, if it be Paul alone who hath condemned, is it just 
or fair to conclude that even one of the apostles of Christ 
has done so ; since the claim of Paul to be considered as 
one of the apostles of Christ, rests on his own presump- 
tion only, and, to say the least against it, is in the highest 
degree questionable.* 

Surely, nothing could be more peculiar to any sect, than 
the conceit of making themselves '' Eunuchs for the king- 
dom of heaven^s sake :*' and as surely, it is any other sort 
of language rather than that of condemnation, in which 
Christ is represented as speaking of that peculiarity. 
Matt xix. 12. 

* He is recognised only in the 2d Rpistle of Peter, chap. ill. verse 14, as 
a beloved brother^ which itself is no style or deslj^nation of apoUleskip^ even 
If the authenticity of this epistle, in which it is contained, were indisputable, 
wmeh ll is not.— Set MarthU MiehaelU^ in loee. 


What the other peculiarities of this sect were, may be 
coUected from the version I have given of the text of 
Ensebius on the subject. 

> Michaelis supplies, from the further authorities of Philo, 
m>m JTosephus, Solinus, and Pliny, that their principles 
w«re generally derived from the Oriental or Gnostic 
Philosophy, of which they observed the moral part, while 
they rejected all its more absurd and egregious metaphy- 
sical speculations.* They abstained from blood, and 
would not^even offer a sacrifice^ because they regarded the 
slaying of beasts as sinful. 

Most of them abstained from marriage, and thought it 
an obstacle to the search after wisdom. 

The places in which they pursued their meditations, 
and which they held sacred, were called fiovaamipia (that is. 
Monasteries). '' All ornamental dress they detested.'' — 
Michaelis, vol. 4, p. 83. 

7. Whose language, then, but their's^ or of the followers 
of their sect, could diat be ? 

" Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of 
plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of 
apparel,** 8cc. — L Pet iii. 3. 

" Not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly 
array." — ^1 Tim. ii. 9. 

** They maintained a perfect community of goods, 
and an equality of external rank, considering vassalage 
as a violation of the laws of nature." — Michaelis, vol. 4, 
p. 83. 

What could more naturally and directly tend to render 
their system acceptable to the poor, and to spread it at any 
time among those who had neither honour nor wealth to 
lose? What language could more nearly describe the 
primitive condition of the evangelical community as pour- 
trayed in Acts iv. 32, or more entirely harmonize with 
those words ascribed to Christ? 

8. " Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion 
over them, and they that are great exercise authority mpon 
them. But it shall not he so among you; but wliosever will 
be mat among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever 
wilt be chief am^ng you, let htm he your servant,^^ — Matt. 


* That is, '' they were the Eclbctic Philoiopbers, who rejected the eTil, 
and chose the good, oat of every system of religion or philosophy that bad 
been propounded to mankind, and who had a flonrishing uniTorsity already 
established at Alexandria when oar Saviour was upon earth.'*— ilfotMrn. 


" Be not ye called Rabbi, for one is your Master, even 
Christ, and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father 
upon the earth, for one is your Father which is in heaven.'* — 
Matt xxiii. 9. *' They believed the soul would live for 
ever ; but they seem to have denied the resurrection of the 
body^ which, according to their principles, would only 
render the soul sinful, by being re-united with it. They 
attributed a natural holiness to the Sabbath-day, because 
it is the seventh, and because the number (seven) results 
from adding the sides of a square to those of a triangle — 

thus : Y] 'I'h^y spent most of their time in contemplation, 

which they called philosophical, and boasted of a philo- 
sophy pretended to be derived from their ancestors* And, 
notwithstanding their general profession of the contem- 
plative life, great numbers of their sect were established in 
populous towns. " Nor is it one city only that they oc- 
cupy,'' says Josephus, '^ but many dwelt in each city ; 
and the provider for the faction is especially discernible 
among strangers, by his engagement in storing up clothings 
and necessary articles :"* from which it should seem they 
were the old-clothes-men of the world, from the remotest 
antiquity. '' It is manifest," argues Michaelis,t '^ thai 
the Epistle to the Epbesians, that to the Colossians, and 
the 1st to Timothy, were written with a view of confuting 
this sect ; for even the very words which Philo has used in 
describing their tenets, are for the most part retained by 
St Paul. 

9. '' And a certain Jew, named Apollos, bom at Alexandria, 
an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus, 
This man was instructed tn the way of the Lord, ana being 
fervent in spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of 
the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John; and he began to 
speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Pris- 
cilia had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto 
him the way of God more perfectly." — Acts xviii. 24. 

Let the reader follow the clue that is here put into his 
bands, in this historical and evidently credible part of the 
real adventures of these schismatical missionaries from 
the original Essenian sect. Here is Apollos, of Pagan- 

* VLta 8K tirrty amiav ri woKis, aW *w ciccumy Karouceffi, woXKoi — KfySc^iM^ «r 
CKCMmy wo\§i re rayfiaros c{(up«T»s rwy ^€vwp avoStiKyurai, rofutxwy fff^ifra mu 
Ta fviTDdffMi. — Bell. Jud, lib. i, s. 4. 

t Michaelis, in h'ls Introdnction to the New Testament, by Herbert Marsh, 
new Bishop of Peterborough, toI. 4, p. Si* 


name; born in the yery metropolis in which the Essenian 
sect was of highest repute; ere any one of the apostles can 
be pretended to have preached the Gospel in that country; 
already instructed in the way of the Lord, and set up as 
a preacher of that way, in Ephesus. And our most learned 
critic rather maintains than conceals the incontrovertible 
fact, that " the earliest and principal members of the 
Christian community were attached to this sect."— > 
Michaelis, vol. 4, p. 80. 

Surely, then, it is only want of moral fortitude, and 
an unwillingness to embrace truths contrary to precon- 
ceived prejudices, that hinders man from seeing truths 
so evident, as that this Essenian or Therapeutan sect 
itself were, as Eusebius haa honestly admitted them to be. 
Christians ; that Alexandria, and not Jerusalem, was the 
cradle of the infant church ; that their ancient scriptures 
were the first types of the Gospels and Epistles ; that the 
natural and probable parts of the Acts of the Apostles, are 
journals of the real adventures of schismatical mission- 
aries from this ancient fraternity of Monks, who, after 
leaving their monasteries in the deserts of Thebais, cut 
out to themselves a new path to fame and fortune, by 
throwing off the stricter discipline of their mother church, 
opposing its less popular doctrines, and retaining what 
they chose to retain, in such new-fangled or reformed 
guise, as to give them the advantage of laying claim either 
to antiquity or originality, as their drift of argument might 
require. Like the Protestant reformers in later ages, 
those who were called Christians first at Antioch, turned 
round upon their ecclesiastical superiors, heaped all 
manner of abuse and misrepresentation upon them and 
their tenets, and pretended to a purer system of doctrine, 
and even a higher antiquity, than the church from which 
they sprang. 

** It is not impossible (though till further proof be 
given, it cannot be asserted as a fact) that the " Vagabond 
Jews, exorcists, who took upon them to call over them which 
had e^il spirits, the name of the Lord Jesus,'* (Acts xix. 13,) 
were likewise Essenes ; for it is well known that the 
Essenes applied themselves to superstitious arts, and 

Extended to have converse with spirits. Some of them 
d claim to the gift of prophecy, of which we find many 
instances in Josephus ;" and of which we find as certainly^ 
simOar instances of the same claim, advanced by the first 
pieacbers and eariiest members of the Christian com- 



mnnity : so that the only qnestion on this eridence it, 
which party had the juster claim to a faculty^ of whidi 
reason denies the possibility to either? In a word^we 
have only to decide who were the greater — that it, the 
more snccessfnl impostors. ' 

'' Among the first professors of Christianity/' sara 
Mosheim^ '' there were few men of learning — ^few who 
had capacity enough to insinuate into the minds of a groti 
and ignorant multitudey the knowledge of divine things. Grod» 
therefore, in his infinite wisdom, j adged it necessary to raise 
np in many churches, extraordinary teachers, who were to 
discourse in the public assemblies, upon the various points 
of the Christian doctrine, and to treat ¥rith the peoi^e in 
the name of God, as guided by his direction, and dotbed 
with his authority. Such were the prophets of the Neiw 
Testament. They were invested with the power of cen- 
suring publicly such as had been guilty of any irregularitr; 
but to prevent the abuses which designing men might 
make of this institution, by pretending to this extnuvr- 
dinary character, in order to execute unworthy end^ 
there were always present in the public auditories, judges 
DIVINELY APPOINTED, who, by Certain and infaUiUe 
marks, were able to distinguish the false prophets from 
the true. This order oi prophets ceased, when die want of 
teachers, which gave rise to it, was abundantly supidied."^ 
—Mosh. Eccl. Hist. vol. 1, p. 102. 

The mind smarts for the degradation which the neceasitj 
of maintaining popular delusion could impose on so intel- 
ligent and highly-cultivated a scholar, in obliging him to 
descend to this language of utter idiotcy, — this reasoning 
that might disgrace the nursery. Here is infinite wisdom, 
to be sure, having recourse to expedients to insimtaie its 
communications into the minds of the gross and ignorant 
multitude; divinely raised-up prophets^ clothed with tihe 
authority of God himself; and divinely appointed Juifees, 
clothed with still higher authority, to judge whemor 
infinite wisdom was right or wrong, but leaving the grett 
and ignorant multitude as much in need as ever of some 
other divinely appointed, still higher judges, to judge 
whether the other judges judged fairly; as 'tis certain that 
the gross and ignorant mtUHtude, for whose benefit the divine 
insinuations were intended, were held to be no judges nt 
all, and God or Devil was all as one to them. How mnst 
a man have looked when he reasoned thus? But the 
absurdity of this reasoning is not worse than an at(eni|it 


to give respectability to the authority wbich nakes it the 
best account that can be given of the matter. 

10. " How is it,*' asks die Apostle himself, that '' every 
one of you hath a psalm^ hath a doctrine^ hath a tongue, 
haih a revelation ? ff there come in those that are unlearned, 
or unbelievers, unU they not say that ye are madV — 1 Cor. 

Could language convey clearer evidence, that in the 
worst and grossest sense of what Philo or Josephus have 
rq^iresented the Essenian churches to have been, that in 
rnlity the first assemblies of these primitive Christians 
v)ere. And this is a state of things described as obtaining, 
Beveral years before the writing of any one of our four. 

If there were really any features of distinctive and 
diffexent origination between these long anterior Thera- 
peutau societies, and those who, in an after-age, acquired 
the name of Christian churches, all traces of that dis- 
tinctiTeness are losL To all scope of history, and possi- 
bility of understandings they must be pronounced and 
Gonsiidered to be, one and tiie same class and order of 
religious fanatics. 

As for the pretence to any thing supernatural, phi- 
losophy teaches us to view it only as a certain and 
incontestible mark of imposture, by whomsoever ad- 
vanced. Prophecy! the very name of such a thing 
is a surrender of allpretence to evidence ; 'tis the lan- 
guage of insanity ! The fetor of the charnel-house is not 
more dbajrged with its admonition to our bodily health, 
to withdraw from the proximities of death, than the 
cracky wund of the thing is, with warning to our reason, 
that we are out of the regions of sobriety, wherever it is 
so much as seriously spoken of: no honest man ever 
pretended to it. 

IL Matthew (xviii. 18) relates a story of Jesus rebuking 
a devil who kept his hold so obstinately on the body of a 
boy, that his disciples, with all the miraculous powers 
with which he had previously gifted them, were unable to 
cast him out ; which Jesus is represented as accounting 
for by saying, '^ Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by fasting 
aadwrayer** — Matt xviii. 21. 

" jNTow we know," says Michaelis, " that the Jews 
ucribed almost all diseases to the influence of evil spirits. 
To cure a disease, therefore, was, according to their 
nodoiiSy to expel an evil spirit: this they pretended to 

II 2 


effect by charms and herbs ; and we have seen from Euse- 
bius, what extraordinary efficacy and virtue the Thera- 
peutans ascribed to prayer and fasting." 

12. The whole doctrine of election^ which distinguishes 
the epistolary writings of St. Paul, is but an appUcatioa 
to the persons whom he addresses, of the notions which 
the Jews from previous ages had maintained, whose hopes 
of acceptance with Grod were founded on the merits of 
their ancestry. We have Abraham to our father, is repre- 
sented as the reason they offered, why they had no need 
to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. One of their 
principal maxims was, ^nn D^TJT? pbn Orh ttn bmw^ V>- 
that is, ** All Israel have the portion of eternal life allotted 
to them." 

Another of the Jewish doctrines is, " God promised 
to Abraham, that if his children were wicked, he would 
consider them as righteous on account of the sweet odour 
of his circumcised foreskin."* 

The holding out a similar inducement to the selfishnew 
and cruelty of the Gentile nations, with reservation of 
Jewish prerogative, constituted all the difference of tlie 
reformed Esseneism^ after it took the name of Christianity. 

13. The allegorical method of expounding their scrip- 
tures, so characteristic of the Therapeutan monks, we find 
entirely adopted and avowed by Paul, in his Epistle to 
the GaJatians, chap. 4. in which, of the most simple and 
obvious apparent facts of the Old Testament, he asserts, 
'' which things are an allegory** The two sons of Abraham 
are to be understood as two covenants ; his kept-mistress 
is a mountain in Arabia; and, again, the mountain in 
Arabia^ is the city Jerusalem. 

14. Again, in 2 Cor. iii. 6, the allegorical method, so 
entirely Essenian, is spoken of as the chief design and 
intention of the Gospel ministry, and that too, even with 
respect to the sense of writings which constituted what 
was known and recognized as the New Testament, when 
this epistle was written, of which, therefore, the four Gos- 
pels which have come down to us, could have constituted 
no part ; as it will be seen by the table, that they were 
not written till six or seven years after this epistle. 

" God also hath made us able ministers of the New Testammd, 
not of the letter, but of the spirit, for the letter killeth^* &c. : 
which principle the Christian Fathers carried to such an 

• Pugio Fidei, ▼. 3, dis. 8, cap. 16, qaoted in Michaelis, ?ol. 4, p. 9S. 


extent, that they hesitated not to admit that the Gospels 
dbemselves were not defensible as tnith according to their 
literal text (^ ** There are things contained therein/' says 
Origen,* ** ^ich, taken in their literal sense, are mere 
falsities and lies/' And of the whole divine letter, 
St. Gregory t asserts, that *^ it is not only dead, bnt 
deadly/' And Athanasius;): admonishes ns, that ** should 
we understand sacred writ according to the letter, we 
shonld fall into the most eoormous blasphemies." "t* 

15. Many objectionable tenets of the Essenian sect are 
reproved and opposed in passages of Paul's epistles, too 
numerous to be quoted ; but all in the manner and style 
of one who had been particularly acquainted with those 
tenets, and who admitted and recognized their affinity 
and relation to the Christian doctrines, as much nearer 
than any of the errors or absurdities of the other forms of 

It). Throughout all these epistles, we find the Gospel 
spoken of by all the varieties of designation that could be 
applied to it, as alreadv preached, as read in all the 
churches, as the rule of faith, the test of orthodoxy — as 
being then of high antiquity — containing all the received 
doctrines with respect to the life and adventures of Jesus 
Christ, all that was necessary to make a man \vise unto 
salvation through faith in Christ Jesus : how he died for 
our sins, according to the Scriptures ; and that he was 
buried; and that he rose again the third day, according to 
the Scriptures. 1 Cor. xv. 4. 

17. Upon the strength and faith of these doctrines, we 
find churches already established, and the distinct orders 
of bishops, elders or priests, and deacons, as described bv 
Philo, already of so long standing, and of such high 
honour and emolument, that it could have become a 
common adage, that ^^ifa man desire the office of a bishop, 
he desireth a good work ; many of the community having 
held that office in such a way as to render it necessary, in 
the election of future bishops, that care should be had, to 
appoint such as should be ^'not given to wine, no strikers, 
not greedy of filthy lucre/' &c. — 1 Tim. iii. 3. 

And this was the state of things, in actual existence^ 
before the writing of any one of the four gospels. 

18. '^ In my father's house are many mansions ; I go ta 

* Hnm. 6, in Isaiah, fol. 106, D. 

"f Comment, on 2 Kings, c 7. 

% Qoeationes ad Antiocbam, torn. 9. p. 857, D« 


prepare a place f6r you.'' John xiv. 2. A fair transtetkni 
of the passage would render it ^* In my father's house sue 
many monasteries/' — Ev ni oncta too irorpoc /uoi;» /tioMU 
troXXcu ciffcv. 

The translation here^ egregionsly protestantiies. ITom^- 
tery is the correct rendering of the word /uovn ; and of all 
possible derivatiyes and combinations of it; the leading or 
radical idea is, a solitary abode, where each indiTidmu is 
excluded, or excludes himself, from intercourse with othen. 

To those who consider Monachism, or Monkery, as a 
corruption of Christianity, sprung up in some latCT 
age, this and such like texts must bear the appearance 
of interpolations, or modernisms, tending to betray a 
later date than that challenged for these writings. But, 
taking nature for our guide, we must necessarily con- 
clude, that an imperfect and defective system was inll- 
nitely more likely to improye by time, and gradually to 
throw off its original imperfections and defects, than a 
system that started from a state of excellence and per- 
fection at first» to become in a few ages entirely deteirio- 
rated and corrupted. 

The positive evidence, then, of Philo, to the prior exist- 
ence of Monkery, has that challenge on our conviction^ 
which must ever attend the highest species of testimony, 
when borne to the highest degree of probability. 

19. In the first verse of the Epistle to the Philippians, 
there is a distinction made between the general congre- 
gation of the SaintSy or Christians, and the Bishops and 
Deacons, which, by the learned Evanson, is adduced as 
an instance savouring very strongly of a much later age 
than that of the Apostles. — Dissonance, p. 264. 

The antipapistical antipathies of this Unitarian divine, 
allowed him only to see matter of offence in the term 
Saints, an order of men, as he supposes, first con- 
stituted by the superstitious piety of the Roman Catholic 
Church : but surely a moment's ingenuous speculation on 
the probabilities of circumstances, would discover matter of 
equal incongruity in the idea of the existence of the dis- 
tinct orders of bishops and deacons, in a flourishing 
national church, when this epistle was written, ten or 
twelve years before the date of any one of our four^spels^ 
and within the life time of one who was the co temporary 
of Christ, and the companion of his immediate disciples. 

That church, and all others that could have had in 
them the distinct orders of bishops and deacons, must 


liave beeB undent at the time. There could be no bishops 
and deacons among new conrerts. Such a state of the 
clinrch, at that time, invoWes a certain demonstration, that 
its doctrine, discipline and government must have been of 
many years stan^g, anterior to the Augustan age. 

80. It is a violence to imagination, and costs it a sort 
of painful effort to suppose that St Paul could have written 
Ms epistle to the Romans, in the Greek language : We 
aould as easily fancy a general address to the inhabitants 
of London, in Arabic. 

. 31. In the earliest Greco-Latin Codices, the passage Ao- 
aians xii. 13. " Distributing to the necessity of saints" — Tcuc 
vpcioic Tiov ayiwv Kocvoivovvrcc — Stood ^^ communicating to 
ue memories of the saints." i. e. — Touc fiveiac roiv ayiwv 
ff«r.X. — Of this passage, Michaelis remarks, that it conveys 
tile language and sentiments of a later age ; ayiog, being 
■sed in the ecclesiastical sense of the word^ for saints or 
martyrs, characters unknown at Rome, when St. Paul 
wrote his epistle to the Romans ; and this faolt, for a 
£Milt he conceives it evidently is, could hardly have taken 
place before the end of the second, or the beginning of the 
third century. 

Moshiem describes the festivals and commemorations of 
tke martyrs, being celebrated in the most extravagant 
manner, as characteristic of the depravity of the fourth 
century: and all Protestant ecclesiastics, strain every 
nerve to throw the odium of what they esteem corruptions 
0f the primitive purity, on later ages. 

*^ It is well known, among other things, what oppor- 
tunities of sinning were offered to the licentious, by what 
were called the vigils of Easter and Whitsuntide, or Pen- 
tecost." Mosheim — vol. i. p. 398. We find however that this 
religious observation of the vigils of the great festivals, 
especially that of Easter, in commemoration of Christ's 
resurrection, was observed in a distinguished manner 
among the Therapeutan or Essenians, and as it was an 
mmuai observance, must have obtained many years before 
Urth of Christ. — See the translated chapter from Eusebius, 
verse 41. 

22. ^* Moreover y brethren^ I delivered unto you first of all, 
thai which I also received, how that Christ died for our 
dnSf according to the Scriptures ; and that he was buried, and 
that he rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures ; 
and that he was seen of' Cephas, then of the twelve : after 
that, he was seen of about five hundred brethren at once, of 

104 aePfiRENCES. 

whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are 
fallen asleep : after that, he was seen of James, then of all the 
apostles; and last of all he was seen of me also, as of* one 
bom out of due time." — ^i. Corinth 15. 

The writer of this epistle, here refers to higher authority 
than his own, '* that, which he also received,** that is> scrip* 
tures, which related that Christ died for oar sins ; that 1m 
appeared after his resurrection to five hundred brethran 
at once, and in an especial manner, to Cephas,* and in a 
like especial manner, to James. 

1. These circumstances partake largely of the more 
marvellous and exaggerative character of the apocrifpkal 
gospels. 2. They are certainly not contained in the ca- 
nonical ones. 3. And yet are insisted on, as so essential 
to the Christian faith, that unless they were kept in me* 
mory. Christians would have believed in vain. 4. No laws 
of evidence would endure the unsupported assumption 
that the witness, Cephas, was the same person as the 
apostle, Peter. 5. Nor were there twelve disciples, after 
Judas, who was one of the number, had hanged hhnsel£ 
6. Nor is there the least intimation, in any of our gospels, 
of an especial appearance to James. 7. Nor was the 
number of the brethren, at their first meeting, after Christ's 
ascension from the top of Mount Olivet, more than '^ abont 
an hundred and twenty/'f 8. Nor was there time. 
9. Nor was it possible, that the scriptures, which detailed 
the circumstances of Chrisfs appearances after his resur- 
rection, in this exaggerative style, could have been in any 
way derived from our four gospels, or any of them : they ^; 
not having been written till twelve years after this epistle.t 

That, other scriptures than those which have come 
down to us, telling the Christian story in a diffierent way, 
were the original basis of the Christian faith; and that 
those other scriptures were in vogue and notoriety, not 
only before our gospels were written, but before the events 
related in our gospels had occurred ; are facts, whose force 
of evidence amounts to the utmost degree of certainty of 
which historical fact is capable. That those scriptures 
were the sacred writings of the Egyptian-Therapeuts de- 
scribed by Philo, expressly considered by Eusebius, 
is matter of the strongest presumption that can be sup- 
posed in the absence of all other grounds of presumption. 

* Acts i. 15. This Cephas was one of the 76, a wholly different personage 
from the Peter of the Gospels : to this assurance, we have the positive 
assertion of Ensebius. 

t See the Table of the Times and Places of Writing, drc. 


23. '^ Else what shall they do, which are baptized for the 
dtadj if the dead rise not at allf Why are they then baptized 
for the deadr—1 Cor. xv. 29. 

Here is a reference to some, then well known and es- 
tablished religions ceremony, existing in a Christian 
cbnrch ; of which ceremony and its significancy, and 
purport, no trace or vestige has come down to ns : nor 
can our commentators come to any sort of agreement, as 
to what sense should be attached to the words. It is 
utterly impossible, that such a baptism could have come 
into use, or have acquired such a notoriety, as to make it 
stand for so general an argument, as that of the resurrec- 
tion of the dead, within the term of life of any one who 
had conversed with St. Peter, on whom it hath been pre- 
tended, that the Christian church is founded. Let the 
reader, if he can, conceive any other way of accounting 
for the text, than its reference to some ancient ceremony 
of the Egyptian Therapeuts, which, after the schismatics 
and seceders from their communion, had acquired the 
same of Christians, grew gradually into disuse, and so 
finally sunk in oblivion.* 

24. Acts XX. 18. St Paul addresses the elders of the 
£phesian church, — '^ / have been with you at all seasons. 
Ye all among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God ;" 
M Style of the most affectionate intimacy. Yet the writer 
ioS the Epistle to the Ephesians, addresses them as a 
stranger, who had only heard of their faith in the Lord 
Jesus, and love unto all the saints." (Eph. i. 15.) — 
Query. — Could the Paul, who declared in the one case, 
and the Paul who wrote in the other, be the same indivi- 
dual ? Query. — ^Who were all the saints, who were loved 
by the Ephesians, at least twelve years before any one of 
our gospels was written ? and consequently as many years 
before there could be any saints whatever, whose faith had 
been founded on those gospels ? 

25. ^^ Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have 
heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many anti-- 
thrists ; whereby we kno%o that it is the last time." — 1 John ii. 12. 

Here is a full confession of the comparatively modem 
character of this epistle: — ^1. The time which could be 
spoken of as " the last," with relation to Christianity, 
could not but at least have been late, and late enough to 
have given the persons so addressed, time to have heard 

* They joined themselves to Baal-Peor, and ate the offeringft of the dead. 
-^rsalm. The reader is to make what use he pleases of this coDJectore. 

.106 WFASBNCBl. 

of the prophecy that Antichrist should come : and^ % To 
have had faith in it» and expectation of its aocompliah 
ment> beforehand : 3. And if the time when this epistle was 
written (about a. d. 80) was the last of Christiaiiity, 
there can have been no Christianity in the worid since 
then : 4. And if then, while St John was living, Antidirist 
was come, and it was the last time, the Christ whooi 
St John intended to preach, must have been much earlier 
in the world than that time. All which agrees in style 
and manner with the character of an angry Egyptian 
monk, complaining of the corruptions and perversions 
which his contemporaries had put upon the pure and 
original Therapeutan doctrines ; but presents not a single 
feature in keeping with the character of one, supposed to 
be himself one of the earliest preachers of an entirely new 
religion, who existed not in the last time, but in the firs^: 
not after Christianity had run to seed, but before it had 
jfully sprung up. ^^ And if Christianity,"' says Archbishop 
WaJce, '^ remained not uncorrupted so long, surely we 
may say, it came up and was cut down like a flower, and 
continued not even so long as the usual term of the life 
of man." 

26. '^ / wrote unto the church ; but Diotrephes, who loveih 
to have the pre-eminence among them, receiveth us not. Where- 
fore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doetk, 
prating against us with malicious words; and not content thert" 
with, neither doth he himself receive tlie friars, and forbid^ 
deth them that would, and casteth them out of the church," — 
John iii. 9. 10. 

1. If this John were the disciple of Christ, this text is 
fatal to the claims of St. John's Gospel, since it shows that 
the rulers of the church had rejected his writings. 2. Its 
reference to the circumstances of mendicant friars, or 
travelling quack-doctors, is as clear as the day. 3. But 
who was this Diotrephes, whose name signifies literally 
the ward or pupil of Jupiter ? Any thing rather than a 
Christian name. 4. And with what conceivable state oi 
a Christian community, that could have existed during the 
life-time of one of its first preachers, can we associate 
the idea of such a struggle for pre-eminence ? The pha^ 
nomena admit of no solution but that which determines 
that these writings are the compositions of no such persons 
as is supposed, and that, however ancient we take them 
to be, they refer to a state of ecclesiastical polity still more 

27. ** Obey them that have the rule oter you, and submit 
yourselves, for they watch for your souls, as they that must 
ghe an account.** — Heb. xiii. 17. 

28. '^ Remember them that have the rtUe over you, who have 
spoken unto you the word of God!** — Heb. xiii. 7. 

What have we here, but references to ecclesiastical 

KTemment and spiritual power, already established in all 
plenitude? A state of things which could not possibly 
have existed — a sort of language that could not pos- 
•mbly have been used, in any reference to an authority 
which had originated within the life-time of the persons 
«l addressed, or to a word of God, of ?duch the th^ 
preachers, were the first 

29. " For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, trans^ 
farming themselves into the apostles of Christ ; and no marvel, 
f&T Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light** — 
S Cor. xi. 13. Aye ! aye ! And with what state of a reli- 
gion, whose founder had been crucified, and whose doc- 
trines had not yet passed into the hands of a second 
Mneration^ and whose apostles had nothing but spiritual 
blessings to confer on others, and nothing but martyrdom 
to expect for themselves, can we imagine that apostleship 
to be so winning a game, that the Devil himself would 


Is inevitable. We are not, perhaps, entitled certainly to 
pronounce that it was so ; but the hypothesis (if it be no 
more), that Paul and his party were sent out, in the first 
instance, as apostles, or missionaries, from this previously 
existing society of Monks, which had for ages, or any 
length of time, before, fabricated and been in possession of 
the allegorical fiction of Jesus Christ ; that the Acts of the 
Apostles, with the exception of all their supernatural details^ 
are a garbled journal of his real adventures ; and the 
Epistles, with the exception of some improved passages 
and superior sentiments that have been foisted into them, 
are such as he wrote to the various communities in which 
he had established his own independent supremacy, by a 
successful schism from the mother church : this hjrpothesis 
will solve all the phiaenomena ; which is what no other will. 

* There are inimtnerable other passages to the like effect ; such as 
tlMS wild man John preaching in the wUdemett : A ftoiee crying in the 
wildemctM: the miracalous fasting of the old woman Anmi: the pass-word 
of the vigilant monlts, Watch and pray ! &c. &c. whose farther tractation 
would detain me too long from worthier matter. Let the reader glance his 
fgft over the New Testament, with this observance. 





There is no greater nor grosser delusion perhaps in the 
world, than that of the common sophistry of argaing for 
the genuineness and authenticity of the writings of the 
New Testament, upon the ridiculous supposition, that the 
state of things of which we are witnesses, with respect 
to these writings in our times, is the same, or much like 
what it was, in the primitive ages ; that is, that these 
writings were generally in the hands of professing ChrLi* 
tians, were distinguished as pre-eminently sacred, had 
their authority universally acknowledged, or were so ex* 
tensively diffused, that material alterations in them from 
time to time, could not have been effected without certain 
discovery, and as certain reprobation of so sacrilegious an 

The very reverse of such an imaginary resemblance of 
past to present circumstances, is the truth of history, as 
borne out by the admissions of all who have devoted 
their time and labours to the investigation of ecclesiastical 

The learned Dr. Lardner is constrained to admit, that 
*' even so late as the middle of the sixth century, the canon 
of the New Testament had not been settled by any 
authority that was decisive and universally acknowledged ; 
but Christian people were at liberty to judge for them* 
selves concerning the genuineness of writings proposed to 
them as apostolical, and to determine according to evi- 
dence."— Vol. 3, pp. 54—61. 

We have shown also, that the scriptures were not 
entrusted to the hands of the laity. The mystical sense 
which we find by the very earliest Fathers to have been 
attached to them, is the strongest corroboration of those 
positive testimonies which we have, ^ that the Christian 
people were kept in the profoundest ignorance of the 
contents of the sacred volume. The clergy only, were- 


held to be the fit depositaries of those mystical legends, 
which in the hands of the common people, were so liable 
to be "wrested to their own destruction." Not to insist 
on the deplorable ignorance of lay-people all over Chris- 
tendom for so many ages, during which, scarce any but 
the clergy were able to read at all. 

It would be hard to authenticate a single instance of 
the existence of a translation of the gospels into the Tulgar 
tongue, of any country in which Christianity was estab- 
lished, at any time within the first four centuries. 

The clergy, or those engaged and interested in the 
business of dealing out spiritual edification, whose testi- 
mony alone we have on the subject, mutually criminate 
and recriminate each other, according as they grasp or 
lese their hold on the ascendancy, (and so are held to be 
orthodox or heretical) with corrupting the scriptures. 

The epistolary parts of the New Testament, entirely 
independent and wholly irrelevant of the gospels as they 
manifestly are, msnr be considered as the fairest and most 
liberal specimen oi the manner, in which the stewards of 
llie mysteries of God, '^ brought forth things new and old"* 
according to the spiritual necessities of the congregations 
which they addressed, while they steadily kept the key of 
the sacred treasure, the right of expounding it, and even 
of determining what it was, exclusively in their own hands. 
Hence, though the gospel is spoken of in innumerable 
passages of these epistles, (written, as we have seen they 
were, before any gospels which have come down to us, 
except those which are deemed apocryphal,) there occurs 
not in them, a single quotation or text seeming to be taken 
from the gospel so spoken of, or sufficient to show what 
the contents of that gospel, were. 

Hence the authenticity and genuineness of the writings 
of St. Paul, and of all those parts of the narrative of the 
Acts of the Apostles, which Paley in his HortB PauliwB 
has shown, present such striking coincidences, with his 
writings, is a wholly distinct and irrelevant question, to 
that of the genuineness and authenticity of the writings on 
which the Christian faith is founded : for, as all persons 
must see and admit at once, that if the four gospels of 
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which have come down 
to us, could be shown to be the compositions of such 

* Every Scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man 
that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure, things new 
and old. -^ Matt. ziii. 09.--i.e. he practices the art of deceiving the people. 

110 PRELlMINARir. 

persons, as those to whom, tinder those names, they are 
ascribed, and so tu be fairly and honourably genuine and 
authentic — this, their high and independent sanction, 
would lose nothing, nor even so much as be brought into 
suspicion, by a detection of the most manifest forgery 
and imposture of those subordinate, or, at most, only 
supplementary writings: so the genuineness of these 
supplementary writings, involves no presumption of the 
genuineness or authenticity of those ; but rather, as being 
admitted to have been written earlier than our gospels, 
and referring continually to gospels still earlier than 
themselves, which had previously been the rule of faith 
to so many previously existing churches; these epistles 
supply one of the most formidable arrays of proof that 
can possibly be imagined against the claims of our gospels { 
and having served this effect, like expended ammunition 
that has carried the volley to its aim, they dissipate and 
break off into the void and incollectible inane. The 
gospels once convicted of being merely supposititious 
and furtive compositions, it is not the genuineness and 
demonstrable authenticity of any other parts of the Kew 
Testament, that its advocates will care to defend, or its 
enonies to impugn. They fall as a matter of course, liks 
the provincial towns and fortresses of a conquered empire, 
to the masters of the capital. 

In this DiEGESis, we shall therefore more especially 
confine our investigation to the claims of the Evangelical 
histories ; and as our arguments must mainly be derived 
from the admissions which their best learned and ablest 
advocates have made with respect to them, we shall 
throughout, speak of them and of their contents, in the 
tone and language ifhich courtesy and respect to the 
feelings of those for whose instruction we write, may 
reasonably claim from us; and which being understood as 
adopted for the convenience of argument only, can involve 
no compromise of sincerity. 



;AN0N8 op criticism. — DATA OF CRITICISM. — COROL- 


To be applied in judging the comparative claims of the 
Apocryphal and Canonical Gospels. 

1. The canonical and apocr3rphaI gospels are com- 
petitive; f. e. they are reciprocally destructive of each 
otfler's pretensions. 

5. If the canonical gospels are authentic, the apocry- 
pbal gospels are forgeries. 

8. If the apocryphal gospels are authentic, the canonical 
gospels are forgeries. 

4. No consideration of the comparative merits or cha- 
racters of the competitive works, can have place in the 
consideration of their claims to authenticity. 

6. Those writings, which ever they be, or whether they 
be the better or the worse, which can be shown to have 
been written ^r^f, have the superior claim to authenticity. 

6. It is impossible that those writings which were the 
first, could have been written to disparage or supersede 
llMise which were written after. 

7. Those writings which have the less appearance of 
art and contrivance, are the first 

8. Those writings which exhibit a more rhetorical con- 
stnction of language, in the detail of the same events, 
with explications, suppressions, and variations, whose 
evident scope is, to render the story more probable, are the 
later writings. 

9. Those writings whose existence is acknowledged by 
the others, but which themselves acknowledge not those 
others, are unquestionably the first. 

10. There could be no conceivable object or purpose in 
putting forth writings which were much worse, after the 
world were in possession of such as were much better. 

11. If the story were not true, in the first way of telling 
it, no improvement in the way of telling it, could render it 

12. If those, who were only improvers upon the original 
history, have concealed that fact, and have suffered man- 
to understand that the improvements were the origimals ; 


they are guilty and wicked forgers^ and never could haTe 
had any other or better intention, than to mislead and 
deceive mankind. 


To be applied in judging the comparative claims of the 
Apocryphal and Canonical Gospels. 

1. It is manifest and admitted on all hands, that the 
apocryphal gospels are very silly and artless compositions, 
''full of pious frauds and fabulous wonders." — Mosheim, 
in loco, 

2. It is manifest, and admitted on all hands, that the 
canonical gospels exhibit a more rhetorical construction 
of language than the apocryphal, and have a highly- wrought 
sublimity and grandeur, the like of which is no where to 
be found in any of the apocryphal gospels. 

3. The canonical gospels, but more especially the 
canonical epistles, which are admitted to have been 
written before the gospels, do in very many places acknow- 
ledge the existence and prevalence of those writings which 
are now called apocryphal. 

4. The apocryphal gospels, as far as we have any traces 
of them left, do no where recognise or acknowledge the 
writings which are now called canonical. 

5. The apocryphal gospels, are quoted by the very 
earliest Fathers, orthodox, as well as heretical, as revenm- 
tially as those which we now call canonical, 

6. The apocryphal gospels, are admitted in the New 
Testament itself, to have been universally received, and 
to have been the guide and rule of faith to the whole 
Christian world, before any one of our present canonical 
gospels, was in existence. 


1. Indications of time, discovered in those gospels 
which were written first, will indicate time relatively, to 
those which were written afterwards — exempli gratia. It 
being proved that the legend A. was written before the 
legend C, there will be proof, that events which were con- 
temporary or antecedent to the writing of A., were ante- 
cedent, a fortiori, to the writing of C. 

2. Indications of the prevsdence of a state of things, 
existing when the earlier gospels were written, will 
indicate relatively the state of things, when the latter 



gospels were written — exempli gratia. It being proyed 
Uiat the earlier gospels were written under an universal 
preyalence of the notions and doctrines of monkery, there 
will be proof of the monkish character necessarily derived 
to the gospels^ derived from those gospels. 


Dr. Lardmeri Plan of the Tlmei and Places of writing ike Four 

Goipeli and the Acte of the Apostles, 

(Supplement to Tlie Credibility, etc, toI. i. p. It.) 

Oospels, Places, 

81. Matthew's. Jadea, or near it. 

9t. Mark's. Rome. 

Si. Lake's. Greece. 

81. John's. Bphesus. 

Aett of the Apostles. Greece. 


About 64 



A Table of St, Pauts Ejnntles in the Order of Tme ; with the 

Places where, and the Times when, they were written, 

(From Lardner's Supplement to The Credibflity, Ac. yoI. ii. p. Iy.) 

1 TwssaloBians. 
t ThMsalooians. 


1 Corinthians. 
1 Timothy. 

S Corinthians. 


S Timothy. 






Corinth or Ephesus. 



Macedonia, or near it. 








Rome or Italy. 


iNear the end of M 
or the beginning of AS 
The beghining of A6 


Before the end of A6 

Abont October 67 

About February 66 

About AprU 61 

About May 61 

Before the end of €9 

Before the end of 68 

Before the end of 68 

In the spring of 68 

j1 Table of the Seven CathoUc 
the Places where, and the 

(From Lardner's Supplement to 

EfUtUs^ See. 
Tbe Epistles of St. James. 
The two Epistles of St. Peter. 
81. John's first Epistle. 
His second and third Epistles. 
The Epistle of St. Jude. 
Tin Revelalion of St. John. 

Epistles, and the Revelation; with 
Tunes when, they were written. 

The CrcdibiUty, Ac. toI. iii. p. It.) 

Places, A. D, 

Judea. 61, or the beginning of 69 

Rome. 64 

Ephesus. About 80 

Ephesus. Between 80 and 00 

Unknown. 64 or 66 

Patmos or Ephesus. 06 or 06 




The ordinary notion, that the four gospels were written 
by the persons whose names they bear, and that they hai^ 
descended to us from original autographs of Matthew and 
John, immediate disciples, and of Mark and Luke, cotem- 
poraries and companions of Christ ; in like manner as the 
writings of still more early poets and historians have desp 
cended to us, from the pens of the authors to whom tbey 
are attributed, is altogether untenable. It has been 
entirely surrendered by the most able and ingenooiui 
Christian writers, and will no longer be maintained by any 
but those whose zeal outruns their knowledge, and whose 
recklessness and temerity of assertion, can serve only to 
dishonour and betray the cause they so injudiciously seek 
to defend. 

The surrender of a position which the world has for 
ages been led to consider impregnable, by the admisaioB 
of all that the early objection of the learned Christian 
Bishop, Faustus, the Manichean, implied, when he 
pressed Augustine with that bold challenge which Angus- 
tine was unable to answer, that,* '* It is certain that tibe 
New Testament was not written by Christ himself, nor by 
his apostles, but a long while after them, by some un- 
known persons, who lest they should not be credited ^rfien 
they wrote of affairs they were little acquainted witii, 
affixed to their works the names of apostles, or of such as 
were supposed to have been their companions, asserting 
that what they had written themselves, was written 
ACCORDING TO thosc pcrsous to whom they ascribed it" 

This admission has not been held to be fatal to the 
claims of divine relation, nor was it held to be so even by 
the learned Father himself who so strenuously insisted on 
it, since he declares his own unshaken faith in Christ's 
mystical crucifixion, notwithstanding. 

* Nee ab ipso scriptum constat, nee ab ejus apostolis sed longo pott 
leinpore a quibasdam incerti nominis Tins, qui ne sibi non haberet«r IdM 
■criDentibus que nescirent, partim apostolorum, partim eorum quiapoatolof 
Menti Tiderentur nomina scriptorum suonun front! bus indiderunt, asseve- 
ffMrtM f BCUMDUM eos, •« scripsisse qua scripierant. — Quoted 6y Lartimtr^ 
ipol. 9, p. 991.— Ser Chapter 7, p. 66, ^ tkU Dibgbsis. 


Adroitly handled as the passage has been by the in- 
genuity of theologians, it has been made rather to subserve 
the cause of the evidences of the Christian religion, than 
to injure it« Since though it be admitted, that the Chris- 
tian world has **all along been under a delusion*' in this 
respect, and has held these writings to be of higher 
authority than they really are; yet the writings themselves 
and their authors, are innocent of having contributed to 
tiiat delusion, and never bore on them, nor in them, any 
challenge to so high authority as the mistaken piety of 
Christians has ascribed to them, but did all along profess 
Iko more than to have been written, as Faustus testifies, 
not BY, but ACCORDING to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 
John; and by persons of whom indeed it is not known 
who nor what they were, nor was it of any consequence 
Hiat it should be, after the general acquiescence of the 
ehorch had established the sufficient correctness of the 
compilations they had made. 

And here the longo post tempore, (the great while after,) 
19. a favourable presumption of the sufficient opportunity 
that all persons* had, of knowing and being satisfied, that 
the gospels which the church received, were indeed all 
that they purported to be ; that is, faithful narrations of 
tbe life and doctrines of Christ, according to what could be 
collected from the verbal accounts which his apostles had 
given, or by tradition been supposed to have given, and as 
such, ** worthy of all acceptation.*' 

. .. While the objection of Faustus, becomes from its own 
Bature the most indubitable and inexceptionable evidence, 
ccUrryiog us up to the very early age, the fourth century, 
in which he wrote, with a demonstration, that the gospels 
wme then universally known and received, under ti^e pre- 
cise designation, and none other, than that with which 
tbey have come down to us, even as the gospels res- 
pectively, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. 

Of course there can be no occasion to pursue the inquiry 
into the authenticity of the Christian scriptures, lower 
down than the fourth century. 

L Though, in that age, there was no established canon 
cv authoritative declaration, that such and none other, 

^ By ol/ ptTBontf understanding strictly all partonty for the common 
people were nobody ^ and never at any time had any yoice, judgment, or 
option, in the business of religion, but always belieTed, that which their 
godfkthers and godmothers did promise and tow that they should believe. 
Qod'or deTllf and any scriptures their masters pleased, were always all one 
to them. 

I 2 


than those which have come down to ns, were the books 
which contained the Christian rale of faith. 

2. And though ** no manuscript of these writings now 
in existence is prior to the sixth century, and various 
readings which, as appears from the quotations of the 
Fathers, were in the text of the Greek Testament, are to 
be found in none of the manuscripts which are at present 
remaining." — Michaelis, vol. 2, p. 160. 

S. And though many passagei^ which are now found in 
these scriptures were not contained in any ancient copies 
whatever ; 

. 4. And though '' in our common editions of the Greek 
Testament, are many readings, which exist not in a single 
manuscript, but are founded on merb conjecture.'*-^ 
March's Michaelis, vol. 2, p. 496. 

5. And though '' it is notorious, that the orthodox 
charge the heretics with corrupting the text, and that the 
heretics recriminate upon the orthodox." — UnUariam Km 
VerMan, p. 121. 

6. And though '' it is an undoubted fact, that the heie- 
tics were in the right in many points of criticism, wfaeie 
the Fathers accused them of wilful corruption/' — Bp» 
Marsh, vol. 2, p. 362. 

7* And though '' it is notorious, that forged writings 
under the names of the Apostles were in circulatioB 
almost from the apostolic age."— See 2 Thess. ii. 2, qmotsd 
in Unitarian New Version.* 

8. And though *' not long after Christ's ascension into 
heaven, several histories of his life and doctrines, full of 
pious frauds and fabulous wonders, were composed by 
persons whose intentions, perhaps, were not bad, but 
whose writings discovered the greatest superstition and 
ignorance." — Mosheinij vol. 1, p. 109. 

9. And though, says the great Scaliger, '' They put into 
their scriptures whatever they thought would serve their 

10. And though *' notwithstanding those twelve known 
infallible and faithful judges of controversy (the twdve 
Apostles), there were as many and as damnable heresies 
crept in, even in the apostolic age, as in any other age, 

♦ ** Almost from the apoitolie age!** Why the text itself, if it proTe Mij 
thing, proTCS that such forged writings were in existence absolutely iw tli« 
apostolic age, and among the apostles themselves. 

t Omnia que Christianismo conducere patabant bibliis suis interseraeraBt. 
^•Tindalio eitanie. 


perhaps, during the same space of time/^ — Reeve's Preli- 
minary Discourse to" the Cammanitory of Vincentius Liri- 
nemsis, p. 190. 

11. ^d though there were in the manuscripts of the 
|f ew Testament, at the time of editing the last printed 
oopies of the Greek text, upwards of onb hundrbd and 
THIRTY THOUSAND various readings." — Unitarian New 
Version, p. 22. 

12. And though ^' the confusion unavoidable in these 
vwsions (the ancient Latin, from which all our European 
▼ersions are derived), had arisen to such a height, that 
St. Jerome, in his Preface to the Gospels, complains that 
DO one copy resembled another." — Michaelis, vol. 2, p. 119. 

13. And though the gospels fatally contradict each 
other ; that is, in several important particulars, they do so 
to such an extent, as no ingenuity of supposition has yet 
been able to reconcile : only the most stupid and ignorant 
of Methodist parsons, and canting, arrogant fanatics, any 
longer attempting to reconcile them, after Marsh, Michaelis, 
and the most learned critics, have struck, and owned the 

* 14. And though the difference of character between the 
ttiree first* gospels, and that ascribed to St John, is so 
flagrantly egregious, that the most learned Christian divines, 
and proU)undest scholars, have frankly avowed that the 
Jmus Christ of St John, is a wholly different character 
firom the Jesus Christ of Matthew, Mark, and Luke ; and 
tiiat their account and his should both be true, is flatly 

1 15. And though such was the idolatrous adulation paid 
to the authority of Origen, that emendations of the text 
which were but suggested by him, were taken in as part 
of the New Testament; though he himself acknowledged 
tihat they were supported by the authority of no manu- 
script whatever. — Marsh, in loco. 

16. And though, even so late as the period of the 
Reformation, we have whole passages which have been 
thrust into die text, and thrust out, just as it served the 
Ciim which the Protestant tricksters had to serve. 

* See Bishop Marsh's Surrender, quoted in chapter 17. 

t Si forte accidisset, nt Johannis Evangelium per octodecim secula priora 
prorsns ignotum jacuisset, et nostris demum temporibus, in medium pro- 
daetum esset, omnes haud dubie uno ore con6terentnr Jesum a Johanne 
descriptam longe alium esse ac ilium Matthsi, Marci et Lues, uec utramque 
descrlptlonem slroul Teram esse posse. — Carol, Tkeoph. Brcitckncider 


17. And though we have on record the most indubitably 
historical evidence, of a general censure and correction of 
the Gospels having been made at Constantinople, in the 
year 506, by order of the emperor Anastasius.* 

18. And though we have like unquestionable historical 
evidence, of measureless and inappreciable alterations of 
the same, having been made by our own Jjanfranc, Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, for the avowed purpose of accamr- 
modating them to the faith qf the orthodox.f 

19. And though there are other passages retained and 
circulated as part of the word of God, which are known 
and admitted by all parties to be wilful interpolations, 
and downright forgery and falsehood. 

20. And tiiough we see with our own eyes, and witness 
in our own experience — as per example, in the Athanasian 
Creed — that nothing could be so absurd, so false, so 
wicked, but that it would be retained and supported by 
our Christian clergy, on the selfsame principle as that 
on which they support all the rest on't, — even because it 
supports them ! 

Yet, after all, we shall find thousands of interested and 
aspiring pedants, pretending to reconcile what cannot be 
reconcUed> to prove what cannot be proved, and to show 
that to be true, which every sense and faculty of man 
attests and demonstrates to be false. It is, however, on 
the ground of mspiration, that they ultimately rest their 
pretensions : it was'on that ground that the Tower of Babel 
was built; that we leave them; but on the ground of 
history, criticism, reason, and natural evidence, they have 
no rest for the sole of their foot. I recommend them to 
treat us with contempt, and to send us to Coventry, and 
not to'Oakham. 

* Here it is. ** Messala V. C. consnle, Gonstantinopoli, jabente Am^lulo 
Inperatore, sancta eTangelia, tanqaam ab idiotis evangeliitit eompotlta, 
reprehendanturet emendantur.'* — VieUtr TununenMU^ Cavi^$HUioria LUt' 
ron'a, vol. 1, p. 416— i. e. ** The illustrious Messcda being Consul; bp the 
command qf the Emperor jtnastasius, the holtf (jospels^ as having been 
written by idiot evangelists^ are censured and corrected** — Victor, Biihop 
of Tunis, in Africa. 

f See Beausobre, quoted in the Manifesto of the Christian Evideiice 
Society ; and this, and the preceding extract Tindieated, In the aatbor^s 
Syntagma, against the Tituperationt of the eTangelical Dr, John Pye Saltb, 
in locis. 






That our three first canonical gospels have a remarkable 
similarity to each other ; and that the three first evan- 
gelists («c. Matthew, Mark, and Luke) frequently agree, 
tfot only in relating the same things in the same manner, 
bnt likewise in the same words, is a fact of which every 
one must be convinced who has read a Greek Harmony 
of the Crospels. In some cases, all the Evangelists agree 
word for word, as thus : 

Matthew, xxIt. 

Now leafn a parable 
of the fig-tree ; when his 
branch is yet tender, and 

EBtteth forth leaves, ye 
DOW that saromer U 
Bigb: so likewise, ye, 
when ye shall see all 
Uiese things, know that 
it is near, even at the 
doors. Verily, I say 
uto yon, this generation 
•luOl not pass, till all 
these things be fulfilled. 
HeaTen and earth shall 
pass away , but my words 
iliall not pass away. 

Mabk, xiii. SO. 

Now learn a parable 
of the fig-tree ; when her 
branch is yet tender, and 
patteth forth leaves, ye 
know that summer is 
near: so ye, in like man- 
ner, when ye shall see 
these things come to 
pass, know that it is 
nigh, even at the doors. 
Verily, I say unto yon, 
that this generation shall 
not pass, till all these 
things be done. Heaven 
and earth shall pass 
away, bnt my words 
shall not pass away. 

Luke, zxi. 81. 

Behold the fig-tree, 
and all the trees ; when 
they now shoot forth, ye 
see and know of yoar 
ownselves, that summer 
is now nigh at hand : so 
likewise, ye, when ye 
see these things come to 
pass, know ye that the 
kingdom of God is nigh 
at hand. Verily, I say 
unto you, this genera- 
tion shall not pass away, 
till all be fulfilled. Hea- 
ven and earth shall pass 
away, but my words 
shall not pass away. 

These phsenomena are inexplicable on any other than 
one of the two following suppositions, either that St Mat- 
thew, St Mark, and St Luke, copied from each other, or 
that all three drew from a common source. 

In Mark xiii. 18 to 82, there is such a close verbal agree- 
ment, for twenty verses together, with the parallel passage 
ia St Matthew's gospel, that the texts of St. Matthew and 
8t Mark might pass for one and the same text 

*^ The most eminent critics are at present decidedly of 
opinion that one of the two suppositions must necessarily 
be adopted — either that the three evangelists copied from 
each other, or that all the three drew from a common 
$ource, and that the notion of an absolute independence, 
in respect to the composition of our three first gospels, is 
no longer tenable. 1 et the question, which of these two 



suppositions ought to be adopted in preference to the 
other, is still in agitation ; and each of them has such able 
advocates, that if we were guided by the authority of 
names, the decision would be extremely difficult''* 

Difficult as the decision may be ; to the great end of this 
general view of the evidence affecting the claims of divine 
revelation, it is utterly indifferent ; since either alternative 
affords results equally conclusive, and equally militant 
against the character of those through whose hands these 
writings have come down to us. In either alternative, 
they are not original writings; they are not what thejf 
purport to be ; and the writers stand convicted, at leasts 
of negative imposture, (if indeed the imposture is attri- 
butable to them,) in passing their compositions off as 
original, and attempting to conceal from us the help they 
borrowed from each other, or what the common source was 
from which they each of tiiem drew. 

Le Clerc, in his Historia Gritica, published at Amster- 
dam, A. D. 1716, seems to. have been the first among 
modem divines who ventured to put forth the startling 
supposition that these three gospds were in part derived 
from either similar or the self-same sources.t 

« This opinion lay dormant upwards of sixty years, tiH it 
was revived by Imchaelis, in the tiiird edition of his Intro- 
duction, published 1777. Dr. Semler, however, was the 
first writer who made it known to the public that our three 
first evangelists used in common a Hebrew or Syriac 
document or documents, from which they derived Ae 
principal materials of their history; in a treatise published 
at Halle, in 1783 ; but he has delivered it only in a cursory 
manner ; and as the thought was then new, he does not 
appear to have had any very determinate opinion on the 
subject. The probability is, that he dared not at that time 
have ventured to put forth a determinate opinion on the 
subject We find Bishop Marsh himself, even in this learned 
dissertation, the highest authority I could adduce on the 
subject, confessing ** that the easiest and the most pmifail 
part that he could take, would be merely to relate the 
opinions of others, without hazarding an opinion of his 
own.'' There was little fear that so high a dignitary of 
the church would, for any opinion he might hazard, be 
liable to be dealt with as an humbler heretic of his com- 

. ^ JBishop Marsh's Michaelis, vol. S. part 2. p. 170. 

credamus tria hec eyangelia partim petita esse ex simiUbus, ant 
fontlbvs.— J> C7f rr, ///t f. CriL in Uk9. 


mnnion. The episcopal palace of Peterborough is fieur 
enough from Oakham Gaol; yet^ for all that, a biriiop 
will never be found wanting of the virtue of prudence. 

The express declaration of Eusebius^ that the Thera- 
peutdB described by Philo were Christians, and that their 
sacred scriptures were our Gospels, after having lain 
dormant for fourteen hundred years, now at length rises, 
upon the admissions of these learned divines, into the 
^Un^nsions of its real importance. From these sacred 
legmids, of a sect so long anterior to the epocha assigned 
to Christ and his apostles, our Christian scriptures have 
been plagiarised ; and the first position of the Manifesto 
of the Christian Evidence Society, for the public main- 
tenance of which the author of liiis Diegesis endures the 
fate of felony and crime, is nothing more than had in other 
words been previously published, by the learned bishop in 
whose diocese he is a prisoner. 

•> OommiUant eadem direno crimioa fato 
Ule ernoMn seelerif pretiam talit, hie diadema."^ 

Eusebius, however, is not alone, even among the ancients, 
in betraying the fact of this great plagiarism. Hints 
and inuendoes occur in a thousand places, pointing qpt 
the same fact, to those who were entitled by learning and 
office to be intrusted with what Origen significantly caUs 
the Arcana Imperii, or secrets of the management; while, 
as the custody of the sacred books was never committed 
to the people, and they were expressly forbidden to exa- 
mine into the foundations of their faith, nothing was more 
fieu^e, nothing more practicable, than for the heads and 
mlers of the church to modify and adopt those previously 
existing romances, whose effect in subduing the reason of 
mankind had been found by long experience, and which 
were too ancient to be found out, too sacred to be sus- 
pected« and too mysterious to be understood. 

Epiphanius, as long ago as the fourth century, speak- 
ing of the verbal harmony of the gospels, which he calls 
their preaching hamumunuly cmd alike,f accounts for 
it by saying, tibat they were drawn from the same fimn- 
tain;X Uiough he has not explained what he meant by 
the same fountain. 

^ " They commit the same things with a different fkte : one hath 1>onie 
the mitre as tlie price of his exploit — the other, the cross. 

t liyi^iii<an Kcu urms nupv^ai. — Hares. 5i . 6. 

X Ori «( mmut -ntt irnn' mpiofnm* 



lessing's hypothesis. 

But it was in the year 1784^ in the posihnmoas works of 
Lessing, published at Berlin, that the hypothesis of a 
common Syriac or Chaldee origin was decidedly main- 
tained, and put forth to the world with much more pre- 
cision than the fortitude of Semler bad ventured. Lessing 
was dead first. It is not from living authors, or from 
those who wish to live, that the world has to look for 
important discoveries in theology. Those who ofier truth 
to the Christian community, must ever provide for their 
escapes from the consequences of doiiig so. 

niemeybr's hypothesis. 

Six years afterwards (in 1790), the important truth was 
taken up, and allowed to be spoken, in consequence of 
meeting the approbation of Dr. Niemeyer, Professor of 
Divinity in Halle, who, in his Conjectures in iUustraiUm 
qfthe Silence of most of the Writers of the New Testament, 
concerning the beginning qf the Life of Jesus Christ, says, 
that '' If credit be due to the authority of the Fathei% 
there existed a most ancient narration of the life of Jesus 
Christ, written especially for those inhabitants of Palestine 
who became Christians from among the Jews.*'' — ^* This 
narrative is distinguished by various names, as the Gospel 
o/* the Twelve Apostles — the Gospel of the Hebrews — the 
Gospel according to Matthew — the Gospel of the Nazor 
ret^es ; and this same, unless all things deceive me, is to 
be considered as the fountain from which other writings 
of this sort have derived their origin, as streams from tne 

Dr. Niemeyer further adds, in a passage to which 
Bishop Marsh invokes our especial attention, that 
X ** Since this book of which we speak contained the 

* Jam si fides habenda est patram auctoritate antiquisslma eztitit de Tlla 
Jean Christ! narratio, in usam eoram, qui e Judeis Christiani fiscti ennt, 
PalestiDensiam imprimis scripta. ^ 

t Hssc narratio yariis Dominibas insignitar, quo pertinent EvanrelivB 
dnodecim Apostolomm, Hebrttomro, Nazareoram, secandam MatthBin: 
eademqae, nui me omnia fallunt, pro fonle habenda est, e quo rtUqua id 
genut ucripta tanquam rivuli originem Buam duxerunt, 

% Cam Tero contineret hie liber, de quo qusirimus Apostolorum de Tltft 
Christi narrationes, non modo propter argumenti gravitate credibile eft, 
ejus exemplaria in plurimomm ehristianorum manibus fuisse, quorum maziine 
diebebat ioteresse diTlnam magistri sui imaginem intueri, verum etlam sin* 
gvlih ezemplaribtts ea, qus quieque aliunde de Christo comperta haberet, 
tanquam anctaria adscripta esse : itaquidem ut vel Apostolorum aevo, plaies 
•Xtitemnt homm memorabilinm recensiones. 

Q«od si ramitnr; mnlta fkeillime explioari pottiint, qus, svblfttft Ista 


narrations of the iqpostles concerning the life of Christy 
not only is it credible from the importance of its argu- 
menty that copies of it should have been in the hands of 
t}ie generality of Christians, whom it oaght chiefly to haye 
concerned to behold the divine image of their master, but 
that in each particular copy, would be written as a sort 
of supplement, whatever any one had found to be true 
concerning Christ from other sources : so that indeed, 
even in the age of the apostles, there might have been 
several selections of these memoirs : which if it be ad- 
mitted ; many things can be most easily explained, which 
otherwise render the origin of our gospels very obscure. In 
the first place, the clear agreement of Mathew, Mark, and 
Luke, in many parts of their gospels, not only in the re- 
semblance of the subjects of which they treat, but in the 
use of the same words, is understood. Make a hundred 
men to have been witnesses of the same fact ; make the 
same hundred to have written accounts of what they saw; 
they will agree in matter, they will differ in words : — nor 
will any one say that it happened by accident, if even 
ftree or four out of their number, had so related tiie story, 
as to answer word for word, through a course of many 

" But who is ignorant, that such an agreement is to be 
observed repeatedly in the commentaries of the Evange- 
lists ? But this is not wonderful : since they drew from the 
mme fountain. They translated the memorable sayings and 
actions of Christ, which were written in Hebrew, into 
Greek, for the use of those who spoke the Greek language. 
But, how came it that Luke should follow a different 

brpothesi, admodum obscuras reddunt eTangelioram nostronim origines. 
nimam inteUigitur consensas Matthsi, Marci, Lace, per plures eTangeli- 
oram saorum partes, non modo in rerum quas tractunt similitadine, ▼erom 
etfaun verborumconspiratione perspicuus : Fac centam homines ejusdem 
ftieti fuisse testes ; fac centam ipsos quod Tiderint mandasse Uteris : Con- 
•eotient re, diflferent ? erbis : nee qaisqoam casu factum esse Jadicabit, 
fli Tel tres aui quatoor ex eornm namero rem ita aarraverint, nt per plori- 
narttm periodorum seriem, Terbum verbo respondeat. Hoc Tero aula 
tgnorat sexcenties obserTari in eyangelistaram eommentaHU ? Atqoi hoc 
wrum non est. Nempe ex eodem kauteruntfonte. Memorabilia Christi et 
dieta et facta Hebraice scripta, in nsnm Grace loquentlum, Or»ca fecerant. 
Qui Tero factum est, at Lacas aliam sequeretar renim ordinem, quam 
Bfattheus ; ut in Marco pi nra desiderentur, in Matthso, cqjns restigia pre* 
nere. Ttdetur obTia? Ut in slugalis partibus, alter aliero Terbosior, in 
obierTandis rebus roinntis, diligentior reperiatur? Quoniam, at ^iximoa, 
mora foit exemplarium, que ista Apostoforam. Airo/ufv/iara complecte* 
bmtar diver$iia$, Deinde, qaoniam liberum fait its, qui ex istis Commen- 
tarlis sua CTangelia conciunabant, addere qaie sibi aliunde innotaissent, 
resceare qus Tel soblest fldel, Tel minas utUia lectoribns, et a stto seribendi 
conailio remota jadicarent. 


arrangement from Matthew? That many things ghonld be 
wanting in Mark, that are readily to be met with in Mat« 
thew, whose steps he seems to follow ? That in paiticnlar 
parts, one should be found more wordy than the other ; 
in observing minute circumstances more diligent ? — ^^^^^ ^ 
Because as we have said, there really was a wondernil 
diversity in the copies which contained those memoirs 
OF THR APOSTLES : and, secondly, because it was op- 
tionable for those who composed their gospels, out of those 
commentaries, to add whatever they knew of the matter 
from other sources, and to cut off whatever they con- 
sidered to be of equivocal credibility, or less useful to 
readers and aliene from their object in writing/' 


GOTTINGEN, A. D. 1793. 

In 1793, the theological faculty at Gottingen, pn^K>8e4 
for the prize dissertation the question ; — Wh€U was theorigin 
of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke^ and Johnf JfVom 
what fountains did the authors of those gospels draw 9 
For what readers in particular, and with what asm did tkejf^ 
each write, and how, and at what time came it to pass, thai 
those four gospels acquired a greater authority, than that of 
the gospels which are called apocryphal; and became ca^ 
nomcaL'^ The prize was adjudged to Mr. Halfeld, who 
maintained that the Evangelists extracted their gospels 
irom different documents. For prot>osing a similar ques* 
tion in London, in the year 1828, the author of this 
DiEGESis obtained the prize, of a year*s imprisonment, 
in Oakham Graol, in the County of Rutland. 

DR. EIGHHORN'S hypothesis. 

In his dissertation, On the Origin of our Three First 
Gospels, printed in 1794, in the fifth volume of his Universal 
Library, of Biblical Literature,* by far the most important 
of all the Essays which have appeared on this subject. 
Dr. Eichhom, supposes that only one document was used, 
by all three Evangelists, but he supposes that various 
additions, had been made in various copies of it, and* that 
three different copiei^ thus variously enriched, were res- 
pectively used by our three first Evangelists, independenihf 

^ The German title is Allgemeine Bibliothek der Bibliacbeii Literttur ; 
ft ptriodical pabUcation. 


mi each other. According to Eichhom's hypothesis, the 
proprietors of difTerent copies of this document, added in 
the margin, those circumstances, which had come to their 
knowledge, bnt which were unnoticed by the author or 
authors of the documents ; and these marginal additions 
were taken by subsequent transcribers into the text 

£ichhom is decidedly of opinion, that the original 
document, of which the Evangelists used yarious copies, 
was written, not in Greek, but in Hebrew, or Chaldee : 
which alone accounts for the phaenomenon of their some- 
times using different, but synonymous Greek expressions, 
in relating the same thing. ^' We possess, (says he,) in 
our three first gospels, tiiree translations of the above- 
mentioned short Life of Christ, which were made inde- 
pendently of each other. Examples, (he states,) may be 
produced, which betray even an inaccuracy of translation. 

The phaenomena, in the verbal agreement of our three 
ftrst gospels, are, however, of such a particular description, 
as to be wholly incompatible with the notion of three inde- 
pendent translations of the same original. Hiey are of 
such a particular description, that it lay not within the 
power of transcribers to have produced them. Tliey afford 
so severe a test, that no other assignable cause, than that 
by which the effects were really produced, can be expected 
to account for them." 

Eichhom expressly declares that he leaves the question, 
undecided, whether our three first Evangelists made use 
of the Hebrew document, or whether they had only trans- 
lations of it. 


*'' At the head of the first class [of Scriptures] are to 
be placed two gospels, [that, according to the Hebrews, and 
the Gospel according to the Hebrews, is the most ancient 

^ '* U faiit mettre k la t6te de la premiere clai se deux EyaDgiles. • . 
Im plot aneien de tout est k moii avi», VEvangUe selan let Hebreux, qae 
1m Nazareenes pr^tendoient £tre Toriginal de 8. Matthieu. II commenffoU 
pmr ees mots Eywtfwro cy'rcui i^Mpcuf Hpttie, — ap. Epipk, Uter. 80. 
• II parait, par let fragmens, qui noos en out ^t^ conserTes, 

?B'il ne contenoit aucnne h^r^sie* et qfi*k quelqaet circonstances prta 
Histolre de Notre Seigneur y ^toit rapport^s fld^lement. 
C*e8t dans cet Efangile qa'on lisoit Thistoire de la femme surprise ad 
adiltere, laquelle est raeont^ an Chap. Till, de S. Jean. Et eomne elle 
ii*etoit pas dans plusieurH ezemplaires de ee dernier Evangile, qnelques-aos 
out eorgectnri, qii*elle aToit M prise de I'E? angile des Naiartens ; etins^rt6 
dans Si Jean. Si eela est Yrai c'est nn temoignage que les Andens rendeol 



of alL This, the N azarenes pretended, was the oiigiiud 
firom which that of St Matthew was taken. It began mth 
these words — '* It happened in the day$ of Herod." 

" It appears from the fragments of it which have been 
preserved to us^ that it contained no heresy, and that with 
the exception of some circumstances, the history of our 
Lord, was therein faithfully related. It is in this Grospel 
that we read the history of the woman taken in adultery, 
winch is told in the 8th chapter of St John; and since 
this was not contained in many copies of this latter gospel, 
some persons have conjectured that it was taken out of 
the Gospel of the Nazarenes, and inserted in that of 
St John. If this be true^ it is a testimony which the 
ancients have rendered to the Gospel of the Nazarenes: 
and if this history was originally contained in St John's 
Crospel, it is another proof of the truth of their gospel. 

" That which has- been called the Gospkl accordimo 
TO THE Egyptians, is of the same antiquity. Origen has 
mentioned it ; Clemens Alexandrinus had previously quoted 
it in several places ; and if the second epistle of Clemau 
Romanus be authentic^ this Gospel would have a testimony 
even yet more ancient than that of those two doctors* 
There is also, in the Library of the Fathers, a commentaiy 
on St. Luke, attributed to Titus of Bostra, in which this 

k I'Ef angile des Nazar6c!is ; ct si cette histoire a ^t^ orifi^inairenient dmus 8. 
Jean, c'est una autre preuvc de la T^rit^ de lear Eraiif^le. 

Celui, qae Ton a nomm^ $elon les Eggptieiu est de la m^rne antiqaiti. 
Origene en a fait mention. Clement d'Alexandrie Tavoit d^jiL aU^^6 ma 
queloues cndroits. Et si la Seconde Epitre de dement Romaln est^e l«l, 
cet kvangile auroit un temoignage plus ancien que celul de cet deas 
Docteurs. On a aussi, dans la Bibiioth^ue des P^res, ua Commentaire sir 
S. Luc qu*on attribue k Tite de Bostres, dans Icquel cet Ev6qne semblt 
mettre TEvangile selon les Egyptiens an rang de ceux que S. Luc a 
indiquez, et par consequent ant^rieurs au sien. Comme les Encratitea le 
citoient pour defendre leur Errear sar le iUarriage, les P^res a*en out point 
rejett^ absolument les temoignages. lis oat tich^ da les expliquer dans on 
sens orthodoxe ; ce qui montre, que ce Livre avoit une sorte d'autorit^, et 
qa*on ne le soup^onnoit pas m^me d*aToir k\k suppose par des H^r^tiquef. 
Qoand j*ai consider^, qu*il ^toit rcyu par les Chretiens d*Egypte, je n'a pA 
me defeDdre de la pens^, qn*il sToit 6t6 ecrit par des Ess^nieus, qui 
SToient crd en J. Christ. La Religion de ces Oens \k tenoient beancoap 
de la Religion Chr^tienne. L*Evangile des Egyptiens ^toit plein dfl 
mystique, de paraboles, d'^nigmes, d'allegories. On attribue cela k 
Tesprit de la Nation ; pour moi, je Tattribuerois plulAt k I'esprit det 
EȤeniens, On y trouToit des sentences, qui paroissoient faToriser 1 Encra- 
tisme. Or les Esseniens viToient dans la continence, et dans rabstinenoe. 
11 est done bien vraisemblable, que des personnes de cette Secte, JudaVaae, 
la seule que J. Christ u'ait jamais censur^c, s*attach^rent au Fils de Ditu, 
le suiTirent ; et que, s'6lant retires en Egypte apr^s sa mort, ils y com* 
pot6reDt une Histoire de sa Vie et de sa Doctrine, qui parut en Egypte, et 
q«l Ikt appellee a cause de eela, TEvaagile selon les ^yptiens.**— Arawod. 
MtaUek. Tom. 1, p. 4A5, 4M. 


bishop Mems to place the Gapel according to the Egtrntiam 
im the rank of those which St. Luke had inveetigated^ anil 
which conseqmently were anterior to his. Since the En- 
cralites (abstemious snonks, Theftq>euts) quoted it to defend 
their error concerning marriage, the priests have not alto- 
gether rejected its testimonies. They have endeavoured 
to explain it in an orthodox sense ; which shows that this 
book had a sort of authority, and that they never even 
suspected that it had been foisted in by heretics. Upon 
considering (the unquestionable fact) that it was received 
by the Christians of Egypt, I have not been able to hinder 
myself from thinking, that it was written by the Essenes,who 
had believed in Jesus Christ. The religion of this people 
i^ntained a great deal of the Christian religion. The 
Gospel according to the Egyptians was full of mysticism, 
parables, enigmas and allegories : this has been attributed 
to Uie spirit of the nation ; for my part, I impute it rather 
to the Essenian cast of character. There may be found 
therein sentences which seemed to favour Encratism 
(Monkery). '^^ Now, the Essenians lived in continence and 
abstinence ; it is, then, very probable, that persons of this 
Jewish sect, the only one which Jesus Christ never found 
ftult with, attached diemselves to the Son of Grod, followed 
him, and upon retiring into Egypt after his death, there, 
ccmiposed a history of his life and doctrine, which appeared 
first in Egypt, and which on that account was called the 
Gospel according to the Egyptians/* 

Thus far the most eminent, ingenuous and learned of 
French divines, Beausobre.* Let the reader take with him 
the light of this great critic's admission, quoted page 58, 
and of his knowledge of the Essenes and Therapeuts, 
established in our seventh chapter, thereupon following ; 
and cast up the results. He will find that the history of 
ages so " long ago betid," never gave to any fact whatever 
a higher degree of certainty, — than the certainty, that this 
Egyptian Gospel was the Diegbsis, or first type, from 
which our four Gospels are mere plagiarisms ; and that it 
contained the whole story of Jesus Christ, and the general 
rule of faith professed by a set of Egyptian monks, (from 
whatever sources those monks themselves had derived it, 

^ I iwrticnlarly wish the reader to obsenre the superior honesty of Beti- 
■obre : he alone has the moral courage to utter the name of the original , 
from which our gospels are deriTed, — the Oospil accordino to the 
BvTrriAifs. All the rest, aware of the mighty argument with whieh H 
teema, seem to My, ** Take any shape but CAof, and our firm knees should 
never tremble I" 


which we shall hereafter enquire^ many yean, probably 
me$, before the period assigned to the birth of Chiist. 
(x>nseqaently, the fallacy of the pretence of the real exist- 
ence of such a personage in Palestine, and in or about the 
age of the emperor Augostos, is absolutely demonstrated. 

BISHOP marsh's hypothesis. 

Bishop Marsh, however, demonstrates that the hypo- 
thesis of a common Hebrew document, is incapable, in 
any shape whatever, of explaining the phaenomena ; and 
labours, as it became a bishop to do» to save the credit of 
divine inspiration, upon the perplexed hypothesis, which 
his indefatigable ingenuity has excogitated, and than 
which perhaps there is none more probable, that, "5f. 
Maith^, St. Mark, and St. Luke^^ all three used different 
copies of some common document, which before any of our 
canonical Greek gospels existed, was known as the 


ACCORDING TO THE TwELVB Apostles; a gospel, of 
which the ancients speak with great respect; or the 
Gospel according to the Nazarenes, or the Gospel 
ACCORDING TO Matthew. The materials of which, OUS 
St. Matthew, who wrote in Hebrew, retained, in the language 
in which he found them, Hebrew, Chaldee or S3rraic : Smi 
St. Mark and St. Luke, beside their copies of that original 
Hebrew, Chaldee, or Sjrriac document, used a Greek tratU' 
lation of it, which had been made before any of the addithnu 
which OUR St. Matthew found in his Hebrew copy, had 
been inserted. Lastly, the person who translated St. maJtthewU 
Hebrew copy of that ori^^inal document into Greek, fre^ 
quently dertved assistance from the Greek translation of St, 
Mark, where St. Mark had matter in common with Si. 
Matthew ; that is, to save his own trouble, he copied the 
Greek of St Mark, instead of continuing his own transp 
lation, de novo, from Matthew's Hebrew transcript: and 
in those places, but in those places only, where St. Afark had 
no matter in common with St. Matthew, he freauently had 
recourse^ with the same view, to the ready-maae Greek of 
St. Luke's Gospel. But though the person who translated 
St Matthew's particular Hebrew copy of the common 
Hebrew document into Greek, did compare and collate 
those two other gospels with his own, yet Matthew, Mark 
•nd Lake, had no knowledge of each other^s gospels." 



This first or earlier draught of the life and history of 
Christ, is acknowledged by St. Luke, as the basis of the 
gMpel story, and called the Ijiegbsis, or Declaration,* that 
is, narratiTe of those things which are most surely believed 
9mong us. In the undistinguished manner of representing 
bis sense in our English text, it escapes observation, that, 
what is rendered a declaration, &c. really is the title 
of the work, of which this gospel professes no more than 
to be ''a setting forth in order,'* or more methodical 


But besides this Diegbsis, the common basis of the 
three first gospels, as of many others which many had 
Udtem in ham, to reduce and arrange into more consistent 
order, there existed also a GNOMOLOGUB,t or collection of 
precepts, parables, and discourses, which were supposed 
to have been delivered by Christ, at different times, and 
on different occasions; and this, in addition to the 
Diegesis, was a common authority to St. Matthew and 
St. Luke, though it seems to have been unknown to St. 

Proceeding steadily upon our principle avowed in the 
motto of this work, which binds us to view all pretences 
tb any thing out of nature, as a surrender of all the stress 
tbit IS laid on so weak an ailment; the reader will 
kiMm^ at once in what sense he is to understand the 
bidiop's struggle to bar off the conclusions to which he 
hatf Ukus far marshalled our wav^ Every step which is 
here supposed, he tells us, is perfectly consistent with the 
doctrine of inspiration, not indeed of verbal inspiration, 
bat with that sort of inspiration, in which the Holy Ghost 
wiatched over the sacred compilers with so suspended a 
hand, as left them to the guiaance of their own faculties, 
whOe they kept clear of error ; and only interposed, when 
without this divine assistance, they would have been in 
dang;er of falling. ''With such an inspiration, (continues 
this Right Reverend expositor of the divine mysteries,) 

* SvctSiprtp wo^Xoi ew^x^^F^^"'^ opora^eurbai AIHrH^IN vcpi ruy ircvAiipo- 
^jfiyiQwy w Tifuy wpayfunctt^ — f8o{c KctfjuH. — Luke i. 1 . 

t S«eh a work seems to be designated under various titles in the Epistles 
of rPnttl, as the Form qf Sound Wordt, the Doctrine, the Words qf our 
iMrd JeMut Ckritt, Ac."— I Tim. Ti. 8. The Doctrine According to God* 
lineat^ Ac. — See Syntagma, p* 74. 



the opinion that the Evangelists drew a great part of their 
materials from a written document^ is perfectly con- 
sistent ; for if that document contained any thing erro- 
neous, they had the power of detecting and correcting if 
Such is a succinct but accurate view of Bishop Marsh's 
Dissertation on the Origin and Composition of the Tbtee 
First Canonical Gospels^ of 249 pages, appended to the 
third volume of his translation of Michaelis's IntroductioD, 
Edit. 2, London 1802. 




All ecclesiastical writers seem to have agreed in repie* 
senting the gospel according to St John, as written at 
some considerable length of time after the publication of 
the three other gospels, and generally with a view to oon* 
fute the heresies of the Cerintfiians, Sabians, and Gnostics^ 
which had either previously existed, or had risen into a 
mischievous notoriety, since the publication of those 
gospels. He had read the three first gospels before he 
composed his own, and appears, says Bishop Marsh, 
to have corrected, though in a very delicate manner, tiie 
accounts given by his predecessors ; which, if his pre- 
decessors were under such an inspiration of the holy 
spirit, as was sufficient to keep them clear of error, most 
indeed have required the greatest delicacy. The Bi^op, 
however, has merited our forgiveness of this absurdity, Iq^ 
the frankness of his confession, that after aU his attempto 
to reconcile the contradiction of St John's account of the 
resurrection of Christ with that of Mark and Luke, ^ he 
has not been able to do it, in a manner satisfactory eithw 
to himself, or to any other impartial inquirer into tnitlu'^ 
He concludes with even more than necessary caution, 
that '* if it be true that there are passages in St. John's 
Gospel, which are at variance with the accounts given by 
the other Evangelists, we cannot hesitate to give the pre*> 
ference to St. John, who wrote last, and appears to have 
had an excellent memory."* Some persons have need of 
excellent memories. 

* Vol. 8, p. 815.— 'Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it seems, had but indifftrent 
mmnories, eTen with the Holy Ghost to jog 'em, and John's memory bAf 
eomcted tome of the Holy Ghost*s blnaders. 

O Sant Esprit ! La Toila ton ourrage. 


DR. SBMLKR'S hypothesis. 

Dr. Semler Gootends, that St. John wrote before the 
o^mr three finuigeligts, and the weight of his authority, 
which alone would give respectability to his criticism, 
seoms to be seconded by the historical evidence of the 
existence of the heretical sects which St John wrote to 
refute, long anterior to any date which Christians have 
ascribed to the three first gospels. An evangelist, who 
bad seen the Grospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and 
wished to second and support their authority, would 
hardly have committed himself in the egregious and irre- 
conciieable contradictions which this gospel presents, 
wtien compared with those : and surely, no one can be 
ignorant that the Platonic and Pythagorean doctrines, 
wUh)h distinguish and characterize this gospel, existed 
several ages before the birth of Christ. Nor ought the 
strong arguments which the learned have adduced, in 
proof that Plato and Pythagoras themselves were both 
members of the Tberapeutan society, or had derived their 
doctrines from the sacred writings of this sect, to be of 
little weight with us. The universal delusion of eccle- 
sbuitical history consists in ascribing a later date to earlier 
institutions, in representing that which was the origination, 
as the corruption of Christianity, and in bringing down 
tile monkish and monastic epocha to any period below 
the second or third century, in order to keep the clue of 
the. whole labyrinth out of sight, and to evade the clear 
soliltion of aU the difficulties of the inquiry, which presents 
its^f in the fact that Eusebius has attested, that the 
Tfainpeutan monks were Christians, many ages before 
the period assigned to the birth of Christ ; and that the 
Dlefesis and Gnomologue, from which the Evangelists 
compiled their gospels, were writings which had for ages 
constituted the sacred scriptures of Uiose Egyptian vision- 


The learned Evanson, who, though a Unitarian divine, 
profiosses himself to be a firm believer in revelation, and 
a disciple of Jesus Christ,* marks with triple notes of 
admiration his astonishment that the orthodox should 

* I» Ms Work on tiM DiMonauof of the Four EfaoK^Hstf , pnbliihed 179S, 



receive gospels which so flatly contradict each other, as 
each equally true. And of tfie adorable miracle of tam- 
ing water into wine, he observes, that coming in so Toy 
exceptionable a form, upon the testimony of so very excep- 
tionable an historian, it is altogether as unworthy of 
belief as the fiibulous Roman Gadiolic legend of St. 
cholas*s chickens. 


Since Christian tolerance has endured these pregnant 
admissions against the claims of divine revelation^ die 
sceptical world has been enriched by the Probabilia of 
Bretschneider, published at Leipsic 1830, in which that 
illustrious divine, compatibly with an equally sincere pro- 
fession of faith in Christianity ; and what is in some views 
a much more important consideration, compatibly with 
keeping his divinity professorship, and presidency of a 
Protestant university ; has shown that the Jesus depicted 
in the fourth gospel is wholly out of keeping, and entirely 
a difierent sort of character from the Jesus of MatAew, 
Mark and Luke, and that it is utterly impossible that both 
descriptions could be true ; that this gospel contains no 
testimony of an independent historian, or of a witness to 
the things therein related, but is derived solely firom some 
written or unwritten tradition ; and that its anthor was 
neither an inhabitant of Palestine, nor a Jew.* 

This, however, is not mpre than may, from internal 
evidence, be argued against the other evangelists, or at 
least Matthew and Mark, whose writings betray so great 
an ignorance of the geography, statistics, and even lan- 
guage of Judea, as the most illiterate inhabitants of that 
country could by no possibility have fallen into— eorenqpfi 


1. '^ He came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midti of 
the coasts of Decapolis/' (Mark vii. 31) : when there were 
no coasts of Decapolis, nor was the name so much as 
known before the reign of the emperor Nero. 

2. '^ He departed from Galilee, and came into the cooiti a 


^ Jesus, quem depinzit, qnartum OTangelium, Talde diveriiis est a Jam 
Ib prioribus eTangeliis descripto— nee atraqne descriptio iimsl toa mm 
potest — ETangelista, nee ea que facta esse tradidit, ipse vidit, sed e traditloiM 
aat seripta aut uon scripta, hausit— oec Palsstinensis nee JndsBiia ftdt.— <- 
Bret$ekn€ider in Ordine Argumentomm, 


Judea, beyond Jordan,'* (Matt. xix. 1) : when the Jordan 
itself was the eastern bonndary of Judea, and there were 
BO coasts of Jndea beyond it* 

& '* But when he heard thai Archelaus did reign in Judea, 
m ike room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither : 
woiwithsiandsng being warned of God in a dream, he turned 
aside into the parts of Galilee, and he came and dwelt in a city 
called Nazareth: tKat it might be fulfilleth, which was spoken 
by the prophets, he shall be called a Nazarene,*' (ilatX. ii. 22) : 
wben — ^1. It was a son of Herod who reigned in liis stead, 
in Galilee as well as in Judea, so that he could not be 
securer in one province than in the other; and when — 
2. It was impossible for him to have gone from Egypt to 
Nazareth, without travelling through the whole extent of 
Aichelaus's kingdom, or making a peregrination through 
tlie deserts on the north and east of the Lake Asphaltites, 
and the country of Moab ; and then, either crossing the 
Joidan into Samaria or the Lake of Gennesareth into 
Galilee, and from thence going to the city of Nazareth ; 
vriiich is no better geography, than if one should describe 
a person as turning aside from Cheapside into the parts of 
Yorkshire ; and when — 3. There were no prophets what- 
ever, or certainly none that either Jew or Christian would 
allow to be prophets, who had prophesied that Jesus 
^should be called a Nazarene ;* and when — 4. It is not true 
(according to the subsequent history) that J esus was ever 
called a Nazarene; and when — 5. Nazarene was not 
a. name derived from any place whatever, but from a 
sect of Eg3rptian monks, and was none other than of the 
same significancy as Essene or Therapeut — a fact which 
tiuows forther light on this monkish legend ; and when — 
8. Had Jesus been a Jew, and derived his epitheton 
according to Jewish customs from the place of his birth, 
he would have been called, not Jesus of Nazareth, but 
Jesus of Bethlehem. 

4. After Christ and the Devil had ended their forty days' 
finniliarity in the wilderness, '' He departed into Galilee, 
and leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, 
which is upon the sea^oast in the borders of Zabuhn and 
Nephthalim, that it mi^ht be fulfilled, which was spoken by 
Eeaias the prophet, saying. The land of Zabulon, and the larld 
of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee 
of the Gentiles," &c. (Matt iv. 12,13); when, to Esaias, or 
any inhabitant of Judea, the country beyond must be the 

* Ef tnsoD, p. 160. 

BM PALsmooD or oospUi datii. 

ooontry east of the Jordan, (as Gaolonitia, or Oillilae of 
the Gentiles, is well known to have been) ; whereas Caper* 
naum was a city on the western side of the Lake of Gen- 
nesareth, through which the Jordan flows. 

5* '' He departed into Galilee, and leaving Naxareik, tmm 
oAd dwelt at Capernaum,* (Matt iy. 13) : as if he imaghied 
that the city Nazareth was not as properly in Gtalilee mm 
Gapemaum was ; which is mnch such geographic»d mxxm^ 
racy, as if one should relate the travels of a hero whd 
departed into Middlesex, and leaving London, came aad 
dwdt in Lombard-street. 


1. The principal indications of time occurring in tk6 
Gospels, are— 

'' And it came to pose in those days, thai there wetsi out 
a decree from Ctesar Augustus, that all the world ehemU be 
taxed; and this taxing was first mads when Cyreniue woe 
governor of Syria." — Luke ii. 1, 2. 

It happens however, awkwardly enough, 

1st. '^at there is no mention in any ancient Rcnnaii or 
Greek historian, of any general taxing of people all over 
the world, or the whole Roman empire, in ttie time of 
Augustus, nor of any decree of the emperor for that pvr^ 
pose : and this is an event of such character and magni- 
tude, as to exclude even the possibility of the Greek and 
Roman historians omitting to have mentioned it, had it 
ever really happened. 

2dly. That m those days, that is, '^ when Jesus was 
bom, in the days of Herod the king," Judea was not at 
that time a Roman province ; and it is therefore absofaitelT 
impossible that there could have been any such taxing 
there, by any such decree, of any such Caesar Augustus. 

8dly. That Cyrenius was not governor of Syria, till ten 
or twelve years after the time assigned as that of the birth 

4thly. That the whole passage is taken from one of those 
apocryphal gospels which were in full vogue long before 
tfiis of St. Luke was written ; some of which, by leaving 
the times and seasons entirely in the hand of Grod, repre- 
sented, that this taxing was first made when King Soltmimi 
was reigning in all his glory, so that Pontius Pilate and 
Ae were contemporary, which did well enough before the 


wickod And «c6|itical art of lariticism began to nndeimiiie 

2. '^ I%§r$ were preeent ai that season^ some that toU 
him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with 
their sacrifices.'* — Luke xiii. I. 

No historian, Jewish, Greek or Roman, has made the 
least allusion to this bloody work ; which it is next to 
impossible that they could have failed to do, had it really 

Such an act was entirely out of character ; for Pilate was 
a Pa§:an and a sacrificer himself, and would never have 
considered idolatry as a crime in any body. We have the 
solution of the difficulty at once, by admitting the proba- 
bility, that as the name of King Herod was substituted in 
the later or more orderly and methodical transcripts of the 
Diegesis, for that of King Solomon, so the act of good 
King Josiah (2 Kings xxiii.) has here been fathered upon 
Pontius Pilate. 


1. Annas and Caiaphas being the high-'priesls (Luke iii. 
2) ; when any person acquainted with the history and polity 
of the Jews, must have known that there never was but 
one high-priest at a time, any more than among ourselves 
there is never but one Archbishop of Canterbury. 

2. Caiaphas, which was the high-priest that same year, 
rjohn viii. 13,) being high-priest that year, he prophesied 
(John XL 50) ; when no Jew could have been ignorant 
that the high-priest's office was not annual, but for life, 
and that prophesjring was no privilege nor part of that 

3. '^ Search and look, for out of Galilee ariseth no pro- 
phet/* (John vii. 52) ; when the most distinguished of the 
Jewish prophets, Nahum and Jonah, were both Galileans. 


^' They brought the ass and the colt, and put on them their 
clothes, and set him thereon,'* (Matt. xxi. 7) ; i.e. like Mr. 
Ihicrow, at Astley's Theatre, a-straddle across them both. 
This translator of Matthew's supposed original Hebrew 
copy of the Diegesis, being so grossly ignorant of the 
common pleonasm of the Hebrew language, as to mistake 


iU ordinary emphatic way of indicating a particular 
object by a repetition of the word ; as, an an, ** even that 
wiich uxis the son" or foal, or had been bom of an ass; 
for tivo of the species.* 

2. '' And he said unto them, Go toash tn the pool of 
SUoam, which is by interpretation Sent," (John xix. 7);t 
which happens to be an interpretation which no Jewish 
writer could possibly have given: Si loam signifying, not 
Sent, but the place of the sending forth of waters, that is, 
the sluice: to say nothing of the absurdity of representing 
the pool as sent to the man, instead of the man being sent 
to the pool : or of the absurdity of supposing that one who 
was blind, could see bis way thither. Sure, here seems 
to have been a greater chance of the poor man's gettine 
his baptism than his conversion. This text has so pnsdea 
the commentators, that they have endeavoured to get the 
words *' which is by interpretation. Sent," considered as 
a mere marginal note ; but the authority of the Codices 
attests them to be a part of the text itself. Whatever, 
dien, be the credit due to the three first evangelists, the 
fourth may well be considered as neither better nor wocse, 
and must stand or fall with them. 



Such errors as we have exemplified, and innumerable 
other such there are, in every one of the four gospels^ can 
be accounted for on no suppositions congruous with, the 
idea of their having been written either by any such per* 

* Similar pleonasms, not without considerable beauty, 

''God is not a man, that he should lie, nor the Son of man, that he should 
repent."— Numb, xxiii. 19. 

'< Shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion.** — 
Numb, zziii. 21. 

** Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him, or the Son of auHi, that 
thou so regardest him ?**-*Psalm. 

t Cap. zix. 7. Ubi auctor Tocem ^tkotofi falso interpretatur per tatugraK" 

t»wos^ et ex errore H't/t^ mU$u$, pronuntiavit rhyt^ EmtMtio^ sdl.aquarum 

Ejusmodi error ?ero, nee Joanni Apostolo, neque alii cuidam scriptori 
Judao accidere potuisset. Codicum auctoritate prorsus genuina judieanda 
•nnt ista verba. — Brettckneider, 


sons, at any lacb time, or under any such eurcanurtanoes, 
as have been generally assumed for them. Bat we may 
diallenge the whole world's history to famiah, fimn a 
period of such remote antiquity, a coincidence of circnm- 
stantial evidence to prove any fact whatever, so strong, 
so concatenated, and so entirely responsive to all the 
claims of the phaenomena, as the evidence here adduced, 
that the first types of the Gospel- story sprang from the 
Egyptian monks, and constituted the substance of the 
mystical romance, which they had modified from the Pagan 
mythology, in conformity to their professed and acknow- 
ledged J^lectic Philosophy, and imposed for antecedent 
ages on the ecclesiastical colonies, which had migrated 
from the mother church of Alexandria. 

Thus, after Europe and all Christian communities have 
been for so many ages led to believe that in the four Gos- 
pels they possessed the best translations that could be 
derived, in their several languages, from ^e original 
inspired text of immediate disciples and contemporaries 
of Christ; it is at length admitted, that mankind have 
been and are egregiousiy deceived. 1. It is admitted, 
that these gospels were not written by the persons to 
whom they are ascribed ; 2. That Matthew, Mark, Luke 
and John, were only translators or copyists of previously 
existing documents ; 3. Composed by we know not wham ; 
4. We know not haw; 5. We know not where; 6. We 
know not when ; 7. And containing we know not what 
The very first assertion in the title-page of our New Tes- 
tament, in stating that it is translated from the original 
Greek, involves a fallacy ; since it is absolutely certain 
Aat the Greek, from which our translations were made, 
was well nigh as far from being original^ as the trajislations 
themselves, and it is absolutely uncertain what the original 

Irenaeus indeed, the disciple of Polycarp, which Poly- 
carp is said to have conversed with St. John, and who 
himself lived and wrote in the middle of the second cen- 
tury, is the first of aU the Fathers who mentions the four 
evangelists by name. But if this testimony were as cer- 
tainly unexceptionable, as it certainly is not — the being 
able to trace these scriptures so high or even higher dian 
the second century, would be no relief to the difficulties of 
Ae evidence ; since the same testimony attests the ante- 
cedent prevalence of the heresies of the Marcionites, Ebion- 


ites and Valentinian8^ which were to be refuted ont of these 
gospels, and which, as they were undoubtedly heresies from. 
Chnstian doctrine^ carry us as much too far beyond the 
mark, as it might have been feared that we should fall 
short of it; and go to prove, that as those heresies^ jo 
these gospels which refuted them, existed hrf^rt the time 
ascribed to the birth of Christ All the indications of date 
contained in those gospels themselves, are manifestly 
erroneous. It is universally known and admitted^ that we 
have no history, nor Christian vnriting whatever besides, 
that so much as purports to come within the limits of the 
first century. At any rate, the predicament of being too 
soon on the stage, is as fatal to the congruities of the 
story, as being too late. 

'The history of the New Testament," says Dr. Lardner, 

is attended with many difficulties." — ^Vol. 1. p. 136. 

What could he mean by difficulties, but appearances qf 
not being true f What could he mean by many difficulties, 
but that such appearances are not one, two, or a dozen, 
but meet us in every page ? And what means the labour 
of his cumbrous volumes, but so much labour of so great 
a man, laid out on the sophistical business of making what 
he virtually admits appears to be falsehood, appear to be 

All these geographical, chronological, political, and 
physiological perplexities, are such as never could have 
crossed the path of straight-forward narrative ; but are 
such exactly as would occur to Eclectic plagiaries, engaged 
in the business of setting forth in order a tale of the then 
olden time; fitting new names and new scenery to the 
characters and catastrophes of an antiquated plot ; and 
endeavouring to put an appearance of history and reality 
upon the creations of fictions and romance. 

That this Eclectic philosophy of the Alexandrine monks 
is the true parent of their Diegesis, of which the gospels 
that have come down to us, are Uie legitimate issue, 13 
the demonstration that will meet us now at every stage of 
that comparison of the Pagan and Christian theology, 
which our investigation challenges from us. 




No conviction of our reason could be conceived to be 
more absolute and conclusive, than that which assures us 
of the utter impossibility of there being any common 
features of resemblance between divine truth and human 
imposture. We are not conscious of our own existence 
with a greater degree of certainty, than that by which we 
know, that a religion which hath ** God for its author, hap- 
)iiness for its end, and truth without any mixture of error 
for its matter," could have no likeness to the foolislt and 
Impotent devices of weak and wicked men. The existence 
of such a likeness or resemblance between any two re- 
ligions whatever, however superior the one might be to 
the other, would itself constitute the surest possible 
demonstration that both of them were false. In a religion, 
then, which purports to be from God, we have a right to 
expect internal evidences of its divinity, and a character 
as infinitely superior to any devices of men — as infinite 
wisdom must be superior to human ignorance. 

Having, then, obtained the consent of all parties, that the 
Christian Saviour, if any such' person ever lived at all, 
mpst have lived and conversed with men' in the era of 
Augustus, that is, eighteen hundred years ago, and that 
all the facts and doctrines of his religion are contained in 
the book called the New Testament*; this great and 
important question becomes capable of being put to the 
test — from which, nothing that is honest would shrink — 
fiom which nothing that is true, can have any thing to 
fear. Nothing which can be shown to have been in ex- 
istence before die alleged time of the birth of Christ, nothing 
which came into existence long after *^ his glorious resur- 
rection and ascension," can have any claim to be taken 
for Christianity. If before the date assigned to Christianity^ 
and in regions and countries where a religion under that 
name was not known, we shaU find all the ideas which that 
religion involves, pre-existeut, and already familiar to the 
apprehensions of men ; there is no alternative but that the 

* We say not the Old Tettament, though the Bible is a term that com- 
prehends both ; the Old Testament will ne? er be Tindicated» and ought not 
to be attacked by any man. 



conclusion must be endnred. To attempt to resist that 
conclusion, is to resist truth itself; to be afraid to do jus- 
tice to the arguments that may lead to that concluflfon, is 
to surrender it, without resistance. 


1. Apologised for all the ap- 
parent absardities of their sys- 
tem, by pleading that nothing 
in it was to be understood ac- 
cording to the gross and re- 
volting sense of the letter, but that the whole was to be 
explained conformably to a mystical allegorical meaning 
which conveyed the most sublime truths. 


1. Use precisely the same 
argument in defence of their 
system, only denying the bene- 
fit of it, to their Pagan adver- 

2. " For those who preside 
over the holy Scriptures, phi- 
losophise over them, and ex- 
pounding their literal sense by 
allegory/* — Eusebius, con" 
eerning the Therapeuian 

Concerning the Pngan Aofara. 

3. " No orderof true religion 
passes over the law concerning 
the description of priests. 

4. *' For some have been in- 
stituted for the business of paci- 
fying the Gods. 

5. ^^ To preside at sacred ce- 

6. '' Others to interpret the 
predictions of the prophet. 

7* '' Not of the many, lest 
the number should be infinite. 

8. " But that none beside 
the College should understand 
those predictions which had 
been publicly recognized. 

2. God also hath made us 
able ministers of the New Tes- 
tament, not of the letter, but of 
the spirit (2 Corinth 8, 6.)— 
Which things are an allegory. 
(4 Gal. 24). — at. Paul, eoa- 
ceming the Chrietian prie^tM. 

Concerning the Chriitina BIshopt. 

3. And God hath set some in 
the church — first apostles, se- 
condarily prophets, thirdly 
teachers.—! Corinth, xii. 2S« 

4. O Lord spare thy people^ 
and be not angry with as for 
ever. — Liturgy.* 

5. Let the prophets speak 
two or three, and let the oiheni 
judge. — 1 Corinth, xiv. 29. 

6. And let one interpret— 1 
Corinth, xiv. 27* 

7. Let it be by two, or at the 
most by three, and that by 
course. — 1 Corinth, xiv. 27- 

8. Because it is given unto 
you (the College of Apostles) 
to know the mysteries of the 
kingdom of heaven, but to 
them it is not given.— Matt 
xiii. IL 

* This attribute of being angry forever, is peculiar to tbe Christian Ood, 
aad ftas beeome, in consequence, peculiarly characteristic of Christians. 




9/^ For angary, or the power 
of fofetelling ftiture eveDts, is 
the greatest and most excellent 
thing in the repablic, and na- 
turally allied to authority. 

10. '' Nor do I thus think, 
because I am an augur myself; 
but because it is absolutely ne- 
cessary for us to think so. 

11. '' For if the question be 
of legal right, what is greater 
than the power to put away 
from the highest governments, 
their right of holding counsels, 
and issuing decrees ; or to abo- 
lish them when holden? What 
more awfal, than for any thing 
undertaken, to be done away, 
if but one augur hath said other- 


0. For greater is he that pro- 
phesieth, than he that speaketh 
with tongoTes. Desire sfuritual 
gifts, but rather that ye may 
prophecy. He that propbe- 
sieth, speaketh unto men to 
edification and exhortation, and 
comfort. — 1 Ckurinth xiT.8. 

10. Neither have I written 
these things, that it should be 
so done unto me. — 1 Corinth, 
ix. 15. — ^Inasmuch as 1 am thd 
apostles of the Gentiles, I mag- 
nify mine office. — Rom. xi. 18. 

11. Dare any of you, having 
a matter against another, go to 
law before the unjust, and not 
before the saints. Know ye 
not that we shall judge angels ? 
How much more things that 
pertain to this life ? — 1 Corinth, 
vi. 3. 

If he nefflect to hear the 
church, let him be unto thee 
as an heathen man, and a pub- 
lican. — Matt, xviii. 17. 

12. Verily I say unto you, 
whatsoever ye shall bind on 
earth, shall be bound in heaven ; 
and whatsoever ye shall loose 
on earth, shall be loosed in 
heaven. — Matt xvii. 18. 

12. '* What more magnifi- 
cent than to be able to decree, 
"^hat the supreme governors 
should resign their magistracy ? 
What more religious than to 
give or not to give the right of 
treating or transacting business with the people ? What 
than to annul a law if it hath not been duly passed, — and 
for nothing that hath been done by the government, either 
at home or abroad, to be approved, by any one, without 
their authority 1* — De Legibus, lib. ii. 12/' 

* No wonder, then, that such a power was not allowed to be held in 
•eparation from the imperial dignity itself. The Jewish Messiah, or Christ, 
vnited in his own person the several offices of prophet, priest, and king. 
The figures of Romulns, the founder of Rome, represent him as clad in the 
trabea, a robe of state, which implied an eeeletiastieal as well as a secular 
dignity. The lituitHj or stafif of augury in his hand, is still retained as the 
crosier of our Christian bishops. '' This latter mark of distinction (the epis- 
copal crosier) usually attends the representations of the heads of Julius 
Casar in old gems and medals, in signification that he was high-priest and 
king, by the same right as Romulus had been." BeWi Pantheon in loco qno, 
iUigustus, Vespasian, Verus, &c. are in like manner accompanied with the 
insignia of augury. So sacred were these holy orden, that nont who had 




IS. '' In addition to these 
etreamstaneeSy Philo describes 
the order of prefemient among 
those who aspire to ecclesias- 
tical ministrations, and the 
offices of the deacons, and the 
pre-eminency above all of the 
bishop."— -iSee cAop. 10. 


18. To all the saintt in 
Christ Jesus which are at Phi- 
lippi with the bbhops and 
deacons.—! Philip, i. 

For they that have used the 
office of a deacon well, par- 
chase to themselves a good de- 

If a man desire the office of 
a bishop, he desireth a good 
work.— 1 Timothy iii. IS. 


Among the ancient Greeks, the dignity of the priesthood 
was esteemed so great in most of their cities, and espe- 
cially at Athens^ as to be joined with that of the civil ma- 
gistrate. Thus Anius, in Virgil, was king of Delos, and 
priest of ApoUo*. In Egypt, the kings were all priests; 
and if any one who was not of the royal family, usurped 
the kingdom, he was obliged to be consecrated to the 
priesthood, before he could ascend the throne. At 
Sparta, the kings, immediately upon their promotion, took 
upon them the two priesthoods of the heavenly, and the 
Lacedemonian Jupiter; and all the sacrifices for die 
safety of the commonwealth, were offered by them only. 


Besides these royal priests, there were others taken from 
the body of the people, and consecrated to the service of 
religion. These were sdl accounted the ministers of the 
gods, and by them commissioned to dispense their favour 
to mankind. Whoever was admitted to this holy office, 
was obliged to be of the most exemplary and virtuous 
character. They were required to be upright in mind and 
pure in heart and life, as well as perfect (a^cXctc) in 
body : they were to live chastely and temperately, ab- 
staining from those pleasures which were considered in- 
nocent in other men. After their admission into holy 
orders, though marriage was not altogether forbidden, 
they were obliged and expected to preserve the most rigid 

once been a member of the sacred collegn^ coaM e?er be degraded : the 
eonimlssioii of the greatest enormity was not held competent to affect their 
imdrfeoMiblc sanctity of sharacter, or to forfeit their title of Thb Revehbhd ; 
which their descendants still retain, in a never-interrapted succession oC 
laherHnnce from their Pagan ancestors < 
* Rex Anias, Rex idem hominum, Phoebique Sacerdos.— riVj^. JEn, 3, ▼. 80. 


chastity. They endeavonred to weaken or overcome " all 
the sinful lusts of the flesh/' by drinking the juice of hem- 
lock^ and by strewing the herb agnus castus, or chaste lamb 
under their bed dothes^ which was believed to possess re- 
frigerating qualities. 


Who held the dignity of TJieotokos, Deipara^ or Mother of 
God, which has since been transferred to the Virgin Mary, 
so conscientiously cut themselves off from the &culty of 
sinful sensations, as to deserve the commendation of Christ 
himself — Matt xix. 12; and to be imitated in so un- 
equivocal a proof of sincere devotion, by the most learned 
and distinguished of christian bishops, Origen, Melito, 


Another holy order of priests, was that of the Parasiti, 
or Parasites, whose office was to gather from the husband* 
men, the com that was to be set aside for the services of 
. the ministry. It was at last an office of great honour ; 
the Parasites being by the ancient laws reckoned among 
the chief magistrates. In every village of the Athenians, 
they maintained these priests at the public expense ; but 
afterwards, to ease the commonwealUi of this burden, the 
wealthier sort were obliged to entertain them at their own 
tables, whence the word parasite, in later times, has been 
put for a flatterer, who, u>t the sake of a dinner, conforms 
to every one's humour. This holy order of Parasites, is 
continued in our Christian Church, in precisely the same 
character and function, under the less invidious name of 
domestic chaplains, who, hanging about the establish- 
ment of princes and nobles, generally contrive to worm 
themselves into the most lucrative ecclesiastical benefices 
upon the well-known economy, 

'* Non missura est cutem nisi plena cruorii hinido*." 


Notwithstanding the conversion of Constantino to the 
Christian faith, the title, the ensigns, and the prero- 

* The leech will not drop from your skin till it it fall of blood. —i/«race. 

144 G0NVBB810N. 

gatives of sovereign pontiff were accepted without hesita- 
tion^ by seven successive Christian emperors. Gratian 
was the first who refused the pontifical robe*, and threw 
off the bcidges of Paganism ; for though he retained the 
title of Sovereign Pontiff, he performed no part of its 
functions.t From motives no doubt of the most dis- 
interested piety, ''this emperor seised the lands and 
endowments which had been allotted to maintain the 
priests and sacrifices of the ancient Paganism, and appro- 
priated them to his own use/'j: a. d. 9^. 

We have yet extant, and happily I have here on my 
table, the celebrated oration delivered by Julius Firmicius 
Maternus, to the Emperors Con:^tantius and Constans, 
the sons and successors of Constantine the Great ; calling 
on those holy Emperors, to seize all the remaining pro- 
perty of the professors of Paganism, which his father bad 
spared, and thus by reducing them to beggary, to starve 
them into salvation. 

*^ Take away, take away, in perfect security, (exclaims 
this disinterested Christian orator.) O ! most holy em- 
perors, take away all the ornaments of their temples. Let 
the fire of the mint, or the flames of the mines, melt down 
their gods. Seize upon all their w^ealthy endowments, 
and turn them to your own use and property. § And O ! 
most sacred emperors, it is absolutely necessary for yoa 
to revenge and punish this evil. You are commanded by 
the law of the Most High Grod, to persecute all sorts of 
idolatry with the utmost severity : hear and commend lo 
your own sacred understandings, what God himself com- 
mands. He commands you not to spare your son^ or 
your brother; he bids you plunge the avenging biife 
even into the heart of your wife that sleeps in yow 

* Gibbon, vol. 8. p, 409. 

-I- Bell's Ptnth. ?ol 1, p. 10. % Lardner, toI. 4, p; 4fi5. 

§ Tollite, toUite secari, sacratisslmi Imperatorea, ornAmenta templonm. 
Deos istof, aut roonetie ignis, aut metallornm eoqaat flamna. Mmria 
unlTersa ad atilitatem Testram dominiumque transferte, (p. £0.) Bed et 
▼obiS) Sacratisf imi Imperatores, ad ▼indicandam et punleadam hoc malm 
necessitas imperatur, et hoc vobis Dei sammi lege precipitur, at se?eritaa 
Testra idolatrie facinus oraDifarium perieqnatur, Audite et commeBdata 
•anctis sensibus ?estris quid de Isto facinore Deos jubeat. Nee Alio jabet 
parol, nee fratri, et per amatam eonjugem que est in sinu tno, gladlvm 
?indicem dncit: amicum quoque subliml severitate persequitur, et ad 
discerpenda sacrilegorum corpora, omnis populus armatur. lategrlt etiaa 
elTltatlbus, si in isto fuerint facinore deprehensa, decemnntur ezeldia. 
Mlierieordia sua Tobis Sacratisslmi Imperatores, Deos tummus prmmla 

KUleetur. — Facite itaque quod jubet, complete qnod prsdpit. fp. fiS.) 
I Brrore Prof. Rel. 


bosom ; to persecute your dearest friend with a sublime 
iieTerity^ and to arm your whole people against these 
sacrilegious Pagans, and tear them limb from limb. Yea ! 
even whole cities, if you should find this guilt in th^m, 
mast be cut off. O ! most holy emperors ! God promises 
yon the rewards of his mercy, upon condition of your thus 
acting. Do therefore what he commands — complete what 
be prescribes.'' 

Nothing can be more orthodox and truly Christian than' 
this oration. It presents us a faithful picture of the genius 
and character oi primitive Christianity. The reader will 
perhaps think he has enough of it. The Orator of the 
Areopagus, however he might have transgressed the laws 
of his country, transgressed not the fair sense of historic 
&ct and license of oratorical figuration, when he said, 
^ Astonished Paganism grew pale, when she saw the blood- 
stained banner of the cross, and from her innocent hand, 
the flowery chaplets of the chaste Diana, and of the hos- 
pitable Jupiter, down dropt, and bloody treason triutnphed 
over them !" 

We have, of the same age, a beautiftil contrast to this^ 
spiritual oration of Firmicius, in an epistle of the Pagai^ 
orator, Li BAN I us, in which he discovers at the same time, 
what the tempers and dispositions of a Pagan were, 
towards those who left the faith of their ancestors, and 
embraced the new-fangled doctrines of Christianity. 
*' Orion, (writes he,) . was my friend, when he was in 
prosperity, and now he is in adffliction, I have the same 
disposition towards him. If he thinks differently from us, 
concerning the deity, he hurts himself, being deceived ; 
bat it is not fit that his friends should therefore look upon 
him as an enemy."* Alas! since one who had once been 
a minister of the gospel, but is now prisoner for his con- 
scientious opposition to it, fell into affliction and differ- 
ence of option, concerning the deity, it was not only 
toffgatten that he had once been a friend, but that he had 
ever been a fellow creature, a brother, or a son.t 

We have also still extant, the petition of Symmachus, 
the high priest of Paganism, which he presented to the 
Emperors Valentinian, Theodosius and Arcadius, and for 
having delivered which, die Emperor Theodosius com- 
manded the reverend orator to descend, from the pulpit> 
and go immediately into exile — (Oakham !) 

* Epistle 780, p. S40, Lardnero, citante in loco quo. 

t See Orlginet ChiittiaiMB, ISth Letter In *' The Lion,'* Tol. 1. 



But impions and unreasonable as it was held to be in 
Christian ears, it was not worse than of a piece with tiie 
extract which I here subjoin : — 

''Does not the religion of the Romans come under die 
protection of the Roman laws ? By what name shtdl we 
call an alienation of rights^ which no laws or circum- 
stances of things ever justified? Freed men receive 
legacies^ nor are even slaves deprived of the privilege of 
receiving what is left to them by will — they are only the 
noble Vestals, and the attendants on the sacred rites upon 
which the public welfare depends, who are deprived of the/ 
privilege of receiving estates legally bequeathed to them. 
The Treasury detains the lands which were given to tiie 
Vestals and their officers by our dying progenitors. Da 
but consult your own generous minds, and you will not 
think that those things belong to the public, which you 
have already appropriated to the use of others. If length 
of time be of weight in matters of religion, surely we 
ought to preserve that faith which has subsisted for so 
many ages^ and to follow our parents, who have so happilj 
followed theirs. We ask for no other state of religion than 
that which secured the empire to your blessed Father, 
and gave him the happiness of a legitimate issue to succeed 
him. That blessed prince now looks down from heaven> 
and beholds the tears of the priests, and considers the 
breach of their privileges as a reflection upon himself."* 

The Holy Father and Bishop St. Ambrose, strenuously 
opposed this petition, and ingeniously argued from a text 
of scripture^ which served to carry die point in his days, 
but which since has become apocryphal, and consequentlv 
is no longer to be found ; but this it was, " all the earth 
belongeth unto the righteous,t but to the infidels not one 
penny," (obelus.) 

Lardner is anxious to vindicate the disinterestedness 
of St. Ambrose, who opposed himself to this unreasonable 
remonstrance oV* these poor blind benighted Pagans ;** and 
puts in proof, the letter written to the ^nperor Eugenius in 
the year 392, in which St. Ambrose declares, that *' those 
revenues had not been taken away by his advice, only he 
had advised that when once they were taken away^ they 
should not be given back again." That's Christian all 
over ! as much as to say, *' Til have nothing to do with 
thieving^ but I'll go your halves !" 

* Citante in loco, Lardnero. 

t " The Hghtfous .-*' who conld that be but the orthodox clergy ? 


The reader faas only to turn his eye to our table- of the 
Ecclesiastical Revenues at this day, and he may solve 
as he shall please, the important question — whether^ if 
these revenues were taken away from the church, and 
transferred to the professors of as false a religion as ever 
was on earth, our churchmen would not run after the 
revenues, and leave Christianity to the fate of Paganism. 
It is a remarkable fact, that in the Corpus juris, or whole 
body of Roman law, notwithstanding alJ the dreadful 
stories of persecutions and martyrdom, which Christians 
relate that they have endured from the*Pagan magistrates^ 
there never was on record any law whatever, that had 
been enacted against Christians — while there were and 
have been the most sanguinary laws enacted for the pro- 
secution and eternal persecution of unbelievers. 

By a law of the Emperors Valentinius and Tbeodosius, 
whoever had been known to have apostatised from the 
Christian religion, was debarred from the right of bequeath- 
ing property by will — nor was the Pagan religion effec- 
tually suppressed, till the profession of it was prohibited 
under the penalty of death. Thousands sunered that 
penalty, whom we are not allowed to consider as martyrs. 
It is weU known, that the most holy and truly Christian 
Emperor Theodosins, put in practice the advice of Julius 
Firmicias, upon the heterodox citizens of Thessalonica, to- 
the letter. He put the whole city to the sword, and! 
" utterly destroyed every thing that breathed, even as the 
Lord God of Israel commanded." — ^An example which was 
followed in like manner, on the ever memorable day of 
St. Bartholomew, August 24, 1572, when seventy thousand 
Protestants, subjects of the most Christian Charles IX., 
were butchered Uiroughout France, at the instieation of 
his pious mother, Catherine de Medicis. Mr. ffiggirns, a 
ancere believer, thus concludes his beautiful work: — 
'^ Lool at Ireland, look at Spain, in short, look everj/ where, 
and you will see ihe priests reeking with gore. They have 
converted, and are concerting^ populous and happy nations 
into deserts, and have made our beautiful world into a 
slaughter-house, drenched with blood ilnd tears.'' — Celtic 
Drutds, p. 299. 





Mr. Addison's versification Mr. Pope's versification of 
of the prophecies which fore- the prophecies which foretcdd 
told the me and actions of the life and actions of Jesus 
iEscnlapius^ from the Meta- Christ, from the prophecies 
morphoses of Ovid. of Isaiah. 

Once, M the ■acred infant she snr- Ye nymphs of Solyma begin the iohI 

The ,^ wn. hindled in the, ?HV't7oa"cU^r.a"lUllowe^ Up. 

; with fire 

AndtAiot sbo tittend her prophetic j^^^y^^^ ,„,'„„ time, the hMd ba- 

" "''V. W P^y^^^ »'»•» '""-W ' A TiSTltaU eoDeeWe, a rirglD iMr 

all nail. a son 

Hall mighty infant, who in yean to g^j^ „ ,),, «rf ria. th' .«. 

come, ««i«r»o*l anAMi 

^'^Ve'imb? "*'''"•' "*" ^''"*"^ 0.p?rngtorghrau.pldon.bab. be 
Swift be thy gnrowth, thy trinmpha ^™- 

nnconflned. He from thick flima shall parge lb* 

filake kingdoms thicker, and increase risnal ray, 

mankind. And on the sightless eyeball pan 

Thy daring art shall animate the dead, the day : 

And draw the thunder on thy guilty Tis he, th* obstructed paths of io«Bd 

head ; shall clear. 

Then shalt thou die, but from the And bid new music charm tb' vnfoU- 

dark abode ing ear ; 

Shalt rise Tlctorlons, and be twice a The dumb shall sing, the laase Ui 

god.*' crutch forego, 

Tft X • A^ 11 And leap exulting like the bonndtag 

Reason at once rejects all ^oe. -— -~o 

ideas of prophecy, as being ,, ^ , , 

" And there was one Anna, 

• Ergoubi fktidicos concepit mente ^ prophetess, the daughter of 

Incalul^ul Deo, quem cUusum pec- Phannel, of flie tribe of Aser. 
tore habebat She was of a great age, and 

Aspicit infantem. ToUque satutifer ij^d lived with a husband 

Crcsce puer dixit, tibi se mortaiia seven years from her Tirgin- 
sepe ity. And she was a widow 

Corpora debebunt : AniAias tlbi red- ^f about four-SCOre and foOT 

Fas erit! * idque*8cmei DU indignan- years, which departed not 
tibus auBus from the temple, bnt served 

^"""bebere aTTti*^"""*" ^'""^ ^'*''*^" Godwitiifastings and prayers 

Eque Deo corpus fies exangue ; night and day. And she com- 
Deusque ing in at that instant, gave 

^^ ^Tabir.'^''' ""*'' ""' ^** *"* ^^ tiiankslikewiseuntoOieLord, 
Ovid Met. Lib 9, Un. 640. and spake of him to all them 


the most childish and foolish that looked for redemption 
conceit that could possibly in Israel^ Luke ii. 36/' 
cross the mind; a knowledge This is one of the many 
of future events being no passages which the Unitarian 
more possible to the human editors of the improved ver- 
mind, than to fly in the air is sion wish to have rejected, 
to the body. We may be told assigning as one among their 
sometimes of an extraordi- several reasons against it, 
nary guess^ as we may of a that *^ though found in all 
wonderful jump; but neither manuscripts and versions 
flight nor prophecy are at- now extant^ it was intro- 
tributes of man — and no ra- duced with a view to elevate 
tional man will consider the the crucified Jesus to the dig^ 
pretence to such a faculty^ nity of the heroes and demi- 
in any other light, than as a gods of the heathen mytho* 
certain evidence of impos- logy." — ^p. 121. 
tare, by whomsoever or in 
what cause, so ever ad-i 

The worship of i£sculapius was first established in 
Egypty the fruitful parent of all varieties of superstition. 
THie name is derived from the Oriental languages. £use- 
bius speaks of an Asclepios^ or JSsculapius, an Egyptian, 
and a famous physician. He is well known as the Grod 
of the art of healing, and his Egyptian or Phcenician 
origin, leads us irresistibly to associate his name and cha- 
racter with that of the ancient Therapeuts, or Society of 
Healers, established in the vicinity of Alexandria, whose 
sacred writings Eusebius has ventured to acknowledge, 
were the first types of our four gospels. The miracles of 
healing and of raising the dead, recorded in those scrip- 
tares, are exactly such as these superstitious quacka 
would be likely to ascribe to the founder of their fra-* 

* A far mor« specific prediction than any that theology can pretend, 
oeoBirt in the Medea of Seneca, which seems in the age of Nero, to hare 
foretold the futare discoTcry of America, hy Christopher Colnmhus, an 
event which occurred not till 1400 years after the publication of the pro- 
phecy. This it is — 

*' Venient annis secula seris, 
Qnibus Oceanus Tincula remm. 
Laxat, et Ingens pateat tellns 
Tethysque noros detegat orbes 
Nee sit terris Ultima Thnle.** 
'* The times will come in late years, when ocean may relax the chain 
of things, and a vast continent may open ; the sea may nncoter new worlds, 
and Thale, cease to Ve the last of lands." 


150 .£8CULAP1U5. 

*' Being honoured as a god in Phoenicia and Egypt, his 
worship passed into Greece, and wa8 established first at 
Epidaurus^ a city of Peloponnesus, bordering on the sea ; 
where probably some colonies tirst settled: a circom- 
stance sufficient to induce the Greeks to give out that this 
god was a native of Greece/' — Bell's Pantheon, p. 27. 

Among the Greeks, it was believed that the god ApoUo 
himself had represented .^Isculapius as his son by a voice 
from the oracle (Ibid,): and it is a striking coincidence of 
fact, if it be no more than a coincidence, that we find 
the Christian Father, Eusebius, attempting to prove the 
divinity of Jesus Christ, from an answer given by the 
same oracle ;* while the text of the Gospel of St. Matthew 
iii. 17, written certainly much later than those answers, 
runs, *' Lo, a voice from heaven, saying. This is my beloved 
son, in whom I am well pleased.*' By the mother side» 
iBsculapius was the son of Coronis, who had received 
the embraces of God, but for whom, unfortunately, the 
worshippers of her son have forgotten to claim the honoor 
of perpetual virginity. To conceal her pregnancy from 
her parents, she went to Epidaurus, and was there deli- 
vered of a son, whom she exposed upon the Mount of 
Myrtles ;t when Aristhenes,j: the goatherd,§ in search of 
a goat and a dog missing from his fold, discovered the 
child, whom he would have carried to his home, had he 
not, in approaching to lift him up, perceived his head 
encircled with fiery rays,|| which made him to believe the 
child to be divine. The voice of fame soon published 
the birth of a miraculous infant ; upon which the people 
flocked from all quarters to behold this heaven-boin 

It was believed that *' iEsculapius was so expert in 
medicine, as not only to cure the sick, but even to raise 
the dead.^ Ovid says he did this by Hyppolitus (and 
Julius says the same of Tyndarus); that Pluto cited him 
before the tribunal of Jupiter, and complained that his 

* Dem. EvaD. quoted translated and commented on, in the author*! 8yii« 
tagma^ p. 116. 

+ Mount (^ Myrtles — why not Mount of Olives? 

X Jritthenet — why not Joseph ? 

$ Goatherd — why not Shepherd ? 

It Thus all Christian painters have depicted the infant Jesus. 

(Veiled in flesh, the Godhead^ He— • 
Hail th* incarnate Deity ! 
Mild he lays his glory by, 
Born that man no more mi^ht die ; 
Born to raise the sons of earth ; 
Born to give them second birth ! 

1. »*. 

empire was considerabiy diminished, and in danger of 
liecoming desolate, from the cores performed by iEiscula- 

E'as ; so that Jupiter^ in wraths slew him with a thunder- 
it. Within a short time after his death, he was deified^ 
and received divine honours. His worship was first 
established at Epidannis, and soon after propagated 
iliroiighoat all Greece. The cock * and serpent were espe- 
cially consecrated to him, and his divinity was recognized 
and honoured in the last words of the dying Socrates, 
^ Remember that we owe a cock to iEsculapius." At 
a time when the Romans were infested with the plague, 
Imving consulted their sacred books, they learned that, in 
€»der to be delivered from it, they were to go in quest of 
JEsculapius at Epidaurus ; accordingly, an embassy was 
iqppointed of ten senators, at the head of whom was 
Qnintus Ogulnius ; and the worship of JSsculapius was 
established at Rome a. u. c. 462, that is. Before Christ, 288. 
But the most remarkable coincidence is, that the worship 
of this god continued with scarcely diminished splendour, 
even for several hundred years after the establishment of 
Christianity. We have the best and most rationally 
attested account of a cure brought about by the influence 
ef imagination in connection with his name, as late as the 
year 485 A. D. 

Marinus, a scholar of the philosopher Proclus, a. d. 485, 
in his life of his master, says, *' I might relate very many 
tiieurgic operations of this blessed man : one, out of innu- 
Bierable, I shall mention; and it is wonderful to hear. — 
AscUpigenia, daughter of Archiades and Plutarcha, and 
wife of Theagenes, to wHom we are much indebted^ when 
she was yet but a young maiden, and lived with her 
puents, was seized with a grievous distemper, incurable 
by the physicians. All help from the physicians failing, 
M in other cases, so now in this also ; her father applied 
to the sheet-anchor, that is, to the philosopher, as /us good 
Samour,f earnestly entreating him to pray for bis daughter, 
whose condition was not unknown to him. He therefore, 

* The serpent is prime agent in the story of harom redemption ; and the 
eoek really bears a very important character in the Gospel, in rebnking Peter 
for cursing and swearing. 

t Tie good Saviour, which was the express title of ^senlapius, is given 
liy Eosebins, in the month of his (kbricated personage, Abgaras, to the no 
less fabricated Jesus : 

A0yapos rowa^xo^ EZtffonis hiffa mnripi ayadv wm^wn w rant ItooffoKvfmif 
XmMw.—Lib. I, r. IS, lU, D. BeeL HiaU *' Abgarns, toparch ot Edessa, 
to Jesas, the good Saviour, who bath uhone forth in Jeruialem— greeting ! 


taking with him Pericles of Ly dia^ who was also a philo-* 
sopher and worthy of that name,* went to the temple of 
JBsculapios, intending to pray for the sick young woman 
to the god; for the city (A^thens) was at that time blessed 
in him, and still enjoyed the nndemolished temple of Tab 
Saviour. Bnt while he was prajring according to the 
ancient format a sudden change appeared in the damsel, 
and she immediately became convalescent; for Turn 
Saviour, as being God, easily healed her/' 

With respect to the miracles ascribed to JSsculapinSy 
and continuing to be performed for so many ages by the 
efficacy of faith in his name^ and in answer to prayem 
offered up in his temple ; the power and influence of ima* 
gination, in producing changes in the animal economy to 
an indefinite extent, is well known to physicians ; and, 
without intending any injurious imposture, the most bene- 
volent and intelligent medical men at this day avail them- 
selves of the patient's superstition, to aid and second the 
operations of medicine. A strongly excited expectation 
of relief will often produce such an improved tone of 
muscular action, and such a more vigorous flow of the 
animal spirits, as will be sufficient to throw off the obstmc- 
tions in which the disease originated, and thus effect many 
extraordinary and otherwise unaccountable cures. A medi- 
cal friend once succeeded in curing a poor man of chronic 
rheumatism, after he had followed the prescriptions of the 
ablest physicians without receiving the least benefit, by 
working upon his imagination to make sure of receiving a 
cure, by taking seven tea-spoonfiils of the decoction of a 
brickbat that should be found in d churchyard, the brickbat 
to be boiled for seven hours, in seven quarts of vrater ; the 
essential conditions of the miracle being that its efficacy 
was 710^ to be doubted ; and the whole process to be kept an 
inviolable secret. This prescription he affected to translate 
out of the spider-leg text of a Greek folio. The cure was 
perfect. The primitive Christians were content never to 
call in question the miracles pretended by their Pagan 

* I preserre so much of the original text as is essential to the proof of the 
matter before as :— 

Av7}Ci cif TO cuTKXtrwtiov vpoiTfv^ofitvos Tw 0c» tnrcp Ti|f KC^iyavnyf. Km ym^ 
i|vrvxci Tsrs i} irokii rare km uxof en mropdrrrw ro ra Samywt tcfwy. EvxifMPS 
avT8 ro¥ apxauntpoy Tpowo¥^ adpoa fjLtrafiokri vtpi rify Kofmtf ^^aurero, Km pmsrwn 
c^oi^i^f c7i7i'eTo. Pcia 70f> o Somjf) axrrc Bws loiraro.-^Quoted in Lardmery 
▼ol. 4, p. 4i0. 

t The ancient form, forsitan ; ** Our Father, which art in heaven, hal- 
lowed be thy name ; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on emrth, m it is 
in hearen/* &c. 


adversaries, so they conld g:et their own similar preten- 
ttions recognised. Their argoment was one that was well 
contrived to evade all possibility of being determined : the 
Pagan miracles were wrought by the power of daemons, 
whUe their s were to be ascribed to the True Grod. 

Jastin Martyr^ in his Apology for the Christian Religion, 
addressed to the emperor Hadrian, seems to seek rather an 
•xcnse for the Christian miracles, than to consider them 
as resting on any grounds of evidence : — ** As to onr Jesus 
coring the lame, and the paralytic, and such as were crip- 
ples from their birth, this is little more than what you say 
of your JSsculapins/'* 

** In the performance of their miracles," says Dr. Conyers 
Middleton, ** the primitive Christians were always charged 
with fraud and imposture by their adversaries. Lucian 
tells us, that whenever aoy crafty juggler, expert in his 
trade, and who knew how to make a right use of things, 
went over to the Christians, he was sure to grow rich 
immediately, by making a prey of their simplicity ; and 
(Telsus represents all the Christian wonder-workers as 
mere vagabonds and common cheats, who rambled about 
to play their tricks at fairs and markets, not in the circles 
of the wiser and better sort, (for among such they never 
ventured to appear,) but whenever they observed a set of 
law young fellows, slaves or fools, there they took care to 
mtmde themselves, and to display their arts." — Free 
Inauiry, p. 144. 

The reader has only to consult the 1st and 2d chapters 
of the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, and he will see that 
tiiis principle of playing off upon the credulity of the 
weakest and most ignorant of mankind, is expressly 
avowed by the great Apostle of the Grentiles — ** Christ cm- 
q^d/' to the Jews, "a stumbling block," as contrary to all 
evidence of fact; **andto the Greeks, foolishness,* as revolt- 
ing to reason. The principle result, however, of this 
resemblance is, the evidence it affords that the terms or 
epithets of " Our Saviour" — the Saviour being God, 
were the usual designations of the god ^sculapius ;t and 
that miracles of healing, and resurrection from the dead, 

* See the Chapter on Justin Martyr, in this Dibgbsis. 

t Both Bacchns, and Jopiter also, was distinguished by the epithet Oum 
Satiour. Sir John Marsham had a coin of the Thasians on wliich was the 
inseription KgaieXtes Xatrripos, of Hebcules the Saviour. — Bryant^t AnnoU 
▼ol. "2, p. 400. 196. The name of Christ, as we have seen (D^fiMtiom^ p. 7,) 
wfts ridienlonsly common, and extended eren to every individual of the 
Jewish race : — , , . 

-Tin/) ^»^»^M71 Tint^Dl TW/) 7» 

'' Touch not my CkruU, and do'my formm-teUtn no A«rm."— Pialm CT. 14% 

154 HERCULB8. 

were the evidence of his divinity, for ages before similar 
pretences were advanced for Jesus of Nazareth. '* Strabo 
informs us, that the temples of ^sculapias were con- 
stantly filled with the sick, imploring the help of God ; 
and that they had tables hanging around them, in which 
all the miraculous cures were described, lliere is a 
remarkable fragment of one of these tables still extant, 
and exhibited by Gruter in his ccdlection, as it was found 
in the ruins of JBsculapius*s temple, in the island of the 
Tyber in Rome ; which gives an account of two blind men 
restored to sight by iEsculapius, in the open view, and 
with the loud acclamations of tlie people acknowledging 
the manifest power of the god." — MiddletotCs Free Inquiry, 
p. 78. Could such a document be produced to authen- 
ticate any one of the miracles ascribed to Jesus, what 
would become of the cause of infidelity? 



Or Alcides, was the son of God by Alcmena, wife of 
Amphytrion, king of Thebes, and is said to have been 
bom in that city, 1280 years before the Christian era. 
Hbrculbs was pointed out by the ancients as tihieir great 
exemplar of virtue. It was affirmed by some, that he 
voluntarily engaged in his great labours. The whole of 
his life appears to have been devoted to the good of man- 
kind. '^ The writers who treat of his adventures, and of 
the antiquities relating to them," says Mr. Spence, ^ have 
generally fallen into a great deal of confusion, so far, that 
I scarcely know any one of them that has perfectly well 
settled which were his twelve labours. To avoid falling 
into the same confusion, one may divide all his adventures 
into three classes. In the first class, I should place sndi 
as are previous to his twelve celebrated labours ; 

** In the second, those twelve labours themselves, which 
he was obliged to do by the fatality of his birth ; 

'^ And in the third, any supernumerary exploits. 

^' His first exploit was that of strangling two serpents 
sent to destroy him in his cradle. This he seems to have 
performed, according to some accounts of it, when he was 
not above half an hour old. But what is still more extra* 
ordinary is, that there are exploits supposed to have been 
performed by Hercules, even before Alcmena brought hnn 
into the world." 


Thus iar Speaco^ m his Poltfmetis, dial. 9» p. 116. 
jMding in a note, '' This, perhaps, is one of the most 
fmsterious poiiits in l^l the mythology of the ancients. 
T^hough Hercules was born not long before the Trojan 
i^rar, they me^e him assist the gods in conqaering the 
r^bel giants ( Virgil's jEiteid, $, line 298); and some of them 
tplk of an oracle or tradition in heaven, that the gods 
could never conquer them, without the assistance of a 

Upon whicbj the orthodox Parkhurst, in his Hebrew 
Lexicon/ asks, with indignation, '^ Can any man seriously 
believe, that so excellent a scholar as Mr. Spence was> 
could not easily have accounted for what he represents as 
being so very mysterious? Will not 1 Pet. i. 20,t compared 
with Hag- ii. 7,% clear the whole difficulty, only recollect- 
ing that Hercules might be the name of several mere men, 
a« well as the title of the future Saviour? And did not the 
truth here glare so strongly on our author's eyes, that be 
was afraid to trust his reader with it in the text, and so 
put it into a note for fear it should spoil bis jests.'" 

** It is well known," continues Parkhnrst, '^ that by 
Hercules, in the physical mythology of the heathens, was 
lli^eant the Sun, ot solar Ught, and his twelve fiunous labours 
tiaye been referred to the sun's passing through the twelve 
aodiacal signs ; and this, perhaps, not without some founda- 
tion. But the labours of Hercules seem to have had a 
still higher view, and to have been originally designed as 
emblematic memorials of what the real Son of God and 
Saviour of the world was to do and suffer for our sakes-* 
Voa^v SrikKTfipui iravra KOfiiKtav — ** Brinpng all lenitives of 
emr diseases," as the Orphic Hymn speaxs of Hercules/'§ 

Thus we see that Christian divines, according to their 
one or drift, either endeavour to conceal or else boast of the 
ves^nblance between the Christian and Pagan mythology. 
At one time, or with one set of Christian-evidence writerSy 
the very idea of naming Christ and Hercules together is 
held as the most frightful impiety; heaven and hell are 

♦ p. 520. 

t Who verily wom foreordained bef&re the foundation qf the worlds hut 
««« wyanifett in ihete laat limes for you, 

% And tho Deeire qfall unions si^all eotne. 

( See Parkharst's Hebrew Lexicon, ODder the word O^TVD PkotbctoMv 
fron the root ty* Strength, or Vigour^ p. 620. But what is this whole 
stmin of argument, but the open and avowed Eclkctic Philosophy, and 
a Tfrtnal admission that GhrlsUanlty and Paganism are perfeetly syneny- 

166 HERCULB8. 

not further asunder: with another set, equally orthodox, 
but driving at a different tact of argument, it is Satan 
himself who hath blinded our eyes, to prevent the light of 
truth shining upon us, if we cannot see that Hercules and 
Jesus Christ are one and the same identical personage ; 
that the labours of the one were the miracles of the other; 
and that the most mysterious and abstruse doctrines €i 
the New Testament were but the realization of the emblem- 
atical tjrpes of the ancient Paganism. Son of God, and 
Saviour of the world, were forms of expression with 
which the ear of heathenism was familiar, for ages before 
it was pretended that the son of Jehovah and Mary had 
a better claim to be addressed by those titles, than the son 
of Jupiter and Alcmene. 

There was, however, a consistency in the conduct of die 
worshippers of the earlier claimant, and a conformity of 
their practice to their profession, which we shall look for 
in vain among the adorers of the later aspirant Hercules 
was expressly and professedly worshipped by the ancient 
Latins, under the name of Divus Fidius; that is, the 
guarantee or protector of faith promised or sworn. They 
had a custom of calling this deity to witness, by a sort of 
oath conceived in these terms — '' Me Dius Fidius r that is. 
So help me the god Fidius! or Hercules. But with all due 
respect to the high authority I quote, rather than incur 
the censure of the divines of the Hutchinsonian school, of 
resisting the light that glares upon me, I should take the 
original form of the ancient oath to have been '' Me Deu$ 
Filius r the filling up of which formulary, with the words 
iia (uHuvet, make the sense complete. So help me God the 
Son ! The form of oath used in our universities at this 
day is, " Ita me Deus adjuvet et sancta ejus evangeliar — 
So help me God and his holy Gospels ! The turning the word 
filius into Fidius, and inventing a god, or an epitheton of 
that name, seems like a struggle to evade the evident sense, 
especially since we know that, in the hurried and gabblmg 
way in which the ancient oath was administered, the 
whole sentence was pronounced but as two words, 
Medius Fidius ; and certainly it would be ridiculous to 
make a God, or the epithet of a Grod, of the word Medius: 
and why might not Hercules be honoured with the title of 
Gk>d the Son, to distinguish him from Jupiter, or Crod the 
Father, as by his human nature standing in a nearer 
relation to mankind than the paternal deity, and the fitter 
to be appealed to as a mediator in human transactions ; 


especially feeing that he wasknown and recognized nnder 
the exactly similar designation of the Son of God, and the 
Saviour of the worlds 

It is, indeed, one of the most carious extravagancies of 
all that is extravagant in Christian faith and practice, that 
the custom of administering oaths should be retained in 
CSiristian courts of judicature, in spite of the express and 
reiterated prohibitions of swearing contained by luckless 
oversight in the very book on which the oath is taken. 
Our Judge Blackstone, well aware how ill the Christian 
text would serve his purpose, passes over the words of 
Jesus Christ, " I say unto you, swear fwt at all," (Matt. 
V. 34) ; and those oil his holy Apostle St. James, '^ £11^ 
above all thirds, my brethren, swear not," (James v. 12); and 
quotes the text of the Pagan, Cicero : — 

" Who denies that these opinions are useful, when he 
observes how many things are' certified upon oath; of 
what safety are the religious obligations of covenants, 
how many persons are restrained from crime by the fear 
of divine punishment, and how holy is the society of 
dtiaenship, from the belief of the presence of the immortal 
gods, as well with the judges as with the witnesses?"* 

'^ It has indeed been remarked by the most eminent 
writers of the Roman history, that the superstition of that 
people had a great influence in keeping them in subordina- 
tion and allegiance. It is more particularly observed, 
that in no other nation was the solemn obligation of an 
oath treated with such respect, and fulfilled with such 
a religious circumspection, and such an inviolable fidelity.'' 
Such is the substance of a note of a Christian translator 
of Mosheim, in opposition to a remark of his text, that the 
Boman superstition was defective in this point—H^Cent. 4, 

A note to similar eflect occurs in the Christian Evan- 
eon's work on the Dissonance of the four Gospels, p. 81. 
^ I was many years ago assured by an intimate friend, 
and an intelligent worthy man, who had traded largely 
both in the northern parts of Africa and in many different 
countries of Europe, that he was never once deceived in 
confiding in the honour and integrity of a Mahomedan ; 
bnt that through Uie perfidy and dishonesty of some of 

* Utiles esse opinioDet hts, qais iiegat, cum Sotelligat quam nmUa 
Smentiir jarejnrando ; quants salatis sintfoederum religiones, quam moltos 
diTiiii SQppUeii metas a seelere reToearit, qnamque saneta sit societas 
elffiiiii inter iptos, Diis imnortalibvs interpositis tiiiii jndieibas tumtestilms. 
— JD» Legikus, lib. 9, 7. 

158 ADONI8. 

those he dealt with, he had been defrauded and Injnred in 
every nation of professed Christians/'* 

The gaoler of the prison in which I am at the time of 
writing this, in the seventh month of an unjnst captivity 
incnrred by the conscientions and hononfable maintenance 
of my sincere convictions, informs me, that during his o^m 
long residence in Malta, and constant coarse of commercial 
transactions with the professors of the Mohamedan creed, 
he never heard of an unpaid debt, or a violated obfigation ; 
and that it is an usual mode of traffic in the market-towns 
throughout Turkey, for the farmers and huxters to leave 
their fowls, eggs and butter, 8cc. in baskets, with the pricetf 
affixed, and to return in the evening in perfect security 6f 
finding the article as they left it, or the exact price depo^ 
sited in the place of just so much of it as had founrf a 

" Were a wise man," says Bishop Kidder, *' to chos4 
his religion by the lives of those who profess it. perhaps 
Christianity would be the last religion he would choose.** 
Christianity, then, has no pretence to evidence on th^ 
score of any moral effects it has produced in the world. 



Thb Jews had a superstition of not uttering the incom* 
municable name of God, nVT — that is, Yahou, or Jackhau ; 
or, as it frequently occurs, in one syllable, fT — Jao, of 
Jackrf which, with more reverence than reason, is pro^ 
nounced Jah! as the tetragrammaton, or word of four 
letters, which at this day adorns our Christian temples is 
called Jehovah. • 

From this divine name iT, says Parkhurst, the ancient 
Greeks had their Ii} in their invocations of the gods, more 

* There are no QuaJteri among them ; and there can be no yillainy wkert 
Q%akeT9 are not. 

t The nearest approach to the exact pronunciation of this saerH irord 
will be produced by suspending the action of all the organs of artietiIiiti«B« 
and making only that conTulsire heaye of the larynx, by which the bronchal 
Tesseli discharge the aeenmulated phlegm : it is enunciated with the dkoit 
eloquent propriety in the act of vomitin^^ and perhaps on this ac4^omt hat 
been called the unuttert^le name. — Consult Rabbi Ben Herschel, "mod hit 
beard ! The God Jeboyab* the most hideous of the whole mythology, wta 
weU knoWn to the Gentiles : he was the Jonw of the ancient Tusoana, and 
Latlnited into the Janus of the Romans. 


pftrticalarly of the god Apollo, i* e. The light. And hence 
these two letters, fonning the name Jah^ written after the 
Oriental manner, from right to left, were inscribed oyer 
the great door of the temple of Apollo at Delphi. 

TV is several times joined with the name rrVT, which 
seems to indicate that they are distinct names for the 
s€mie deity, and not the one the mere abbreviation of 
the other. The rays of light or glory within a circle or 
ring of- which the tetragranmiaton, or four-lettered word, 
is exhibited in our Christian temples, are a demonstration 
that the same deity is intended by the Christian Jehovah 
as by the Pagan Jah (that is, ApoUo), whose name of 
two letters was in like manner encircled with rays <^ 

The Pagans, indeed, seem more rigidly to have adhered 
to the text or injunctions of those Syrio-Phoenician odes 
which have been consecrated by Christian piety, under the 
name of the Psalms of David, and which formed a material 
part of their idolatrous liturgies, than their Christian pla- 
giarists who have retained the use of them in a never- 
interrupted succession from their times. 

We read in the original, the hundred times re- 
peated commands, JT thT} — Ellell-lu-jah ! praise ye Jack ! 
mn« D^n n^n— Behold! bless ye Jack! 

ytbjn iDtc^ rrn niiinya mi*? i*7d iDtc^ nor u^nbikb n^^ 
—rton nb^yh o mrr w^h t^h ^d vn^b 

Sing ye to the gods ! Chant ye his name ! Exalt him who 
fideth in the heavens, by his name Jack, and leap for joy 
hefnre his face! For the Lord hath a long nose, and his mercy 
endurethfor ever ! 

It is admitted, however, on all hands, that the proper 

C enunciation of the tetragrammaton which we ctdl Je* 
vah, and its synonyme Jah, is entirely lost. Nor can it 
be denied, that the Hebrew points ordinarily annexed to 
the conscmants of those words, are not the natural points 
belonging thereto, nor indicative of pronunciation; but 
are the vowel points belonging to the words Adonai and 
Elohim, — to warn the reader, that instead of the word 
Jbhovah, which the Jews were forbidden to pronounce, 
and the pronunciation of which had been long unknown 
to them, they are always to read Adonai,- or Adonis.* 

* See the Oxford fincyelopttdhi, onder the head AdeniwU ; and iny own fbr- 
ther iDToetigatioDf of thii carioim robjeet, in niy Syntagma of the Efidenees 
of the Christian Religion, jmblished dnrfug the earlier monthi of my still- 

160 ADONIS. 

Hence we find, that frequently ' where the 

Erinted copies read ^iSIH, many of Dr. Kennicott's codioes 
ave nVT. And hence^ says Dr. Paridiurst, whose ortb^ 
doxy of Christian faith admits not a suspicion — hence tiie 
idol Adonis had his name.* 

The reader will, £ hope, do himself the lustice to obserWy 
that throughout this Dibgbsis, no merely fanciful or con- 
jectural interpretations are admitted, and no new lights 
struck out from ingenious etymologies : he is here pvfr- 
sented with the calm dispassionate evidence of nc^ 
and when those facts are most pregnant of concliisioB» 
adverse to Christianity, they are invariably adduced in 
the words and on the authority of Christians themselvM, 
whose disinterestedness, at least, in yielding admissions 
of this character, is no more to be questioned, than their 
learning and piety to be surpassed. 

The great source of difficulty and mistake in tracing the 
identity of the parent figment through the multifarions 
forms of the ancient idolatry, seems to arise from the 
change of epithets and names, while yet it is but one and 
the same deity and demi-god who is meant under a him* 
dred designations. Thus, the names under which the 
Sun has been the real and only intended object of 
divine worship, have been as various and as many as the 
nations of the earth on which bis light has shone. And as 
various are the allegories and fictions of his passing 
through the zodiacal sign of the Virgin, which, of course, 
would remain a virgin still ; his descending into the lower 
parts of the earth ; his rising again from the dead ; hto 
ascending into heaven , his opening the kingdom of heaven 
to all believers; his casting his bright beams of light through 
twelve months, or Apostles, one of whom ^Febmaiy— 
Judas) lost a day, and by transgression (or skipping over} 
^'fell, that he might go to nis own place," (Acts i. 25) ; '* iai 
preaching the acceptable year of the Lord,** (Luke iv. 9). By 
all which metaphorical personifications, were typified the 
natural history or circumstances observable in the Son's 
progress through the twelve months which constitute the 
natural year. 

The Jews in vain endeavour to disguise the fact, that 
they also were Sun worshippers. We find, from their owb 
sacred books, that their Solomon, after having built a 

continuing uiijost impriionment, for the coiigcieDtiom exposure of the err^n 
and i([niorance on which that religion it founded, p. 96. 
* Parkhurtt'f Hebrew Lexicon, under the head ^*1 S. « . 


to Jehovah, *' did bmU aUo an Ugh place for WW 
demash (that iB, the Sun), the abomination ^Moab, in the 
hill that i$ before Jeruealem,'* (1 Kings, xL 1) ; and so late 
•0 to the reign of Josiah, snocessiye kings of Jndab <' had 
dedicated hor$e$ to the Sun ; and the chariots of the Sun were 
mi the enterit^ in of the house of the Lord.** — 2 Kings, xxii. 11. 

Tlie prophet Malachi expressly speaks of Christ, nnder 
tiw same unaltered name of Chemosh, the abomination 
of die Moabites — TTplX VfDIC^— Chapter iii, verse 4, or 
hr. 8. Which being, by our evangelical reformers, very 
conveniently translated the Sun of Righteousness,* of course 
could refer to nofliing else than Jesus Christ, and so 
ooDceals the idolatry, while it conveys the piety. 

The same deity, however, under his name Adonis, 
witfiout any change but that of the various pronouns, 
suffices to indicate mu Aden, our Adon, &c. is the undis- 
guised idol who is addressed innumerable times through- 
out the book of Psalms, under that name, and to whose 
honour, in common with that of Jehovah, they were com- 

Cied and dedicated. The 110th Psalm, of which the 
t verse rendered into English, is, ^' The Lord said unto 
mgf Lord, Sit thou at my right hand^ until I make thine ene- 
mies thy footstool,** f shomd have been rendered, ^' Yahou 
emd unto Adonis.*' The two idols were worshipped in the 
same house of the Lord, which was at Jerusalem : Yahou, 
or Jack, sat on the lid of a box, ridiculously called the 
ilasterion, or mercy-seat ; while Adonis seems to have occu- 

Sd the vestibule, or entering in of the house of the Lord, 
e rest of the Psalm is a dialogue, in which Jao^ or Jack, 
IMoposes terms of alliance between himself and Adonis, 
and engages to join him in the slaughter of their enemies. 
The preference of the Jews for Adonis, who was distin- 
gaished for his personal beauty, above the cloven-footed 
and long-nosed Jehovah j: has induced them to this day, 
set only to read the name Adon, wherever it occurs, but 
Otttiiely to banish the recollection of Jao altogether. 
They substitute the name Adon in every instance where 
ear translators have put Jehovah, or the Lord ; so that in 
the reading of those to whom Uiese lively oracles were 

xi^rb trm T3« rmik ly ^rD^^ iv ^^iw*? mrr dk^ • 

f The Hebrew has no adjectlTes : Sun of Righteoutnett is their idiom 
fw tlM Riffhtaous Son. 
X Sae toe plate of him in Parlihurst, and hit conviocing arguments in 
' that tha beast with four faeei and four wings, standing lil^e a cock 

rD a hen-roost, on one leg, ** mast be refisfred to Jehovah only,'* nnder 

head 3^0 atO— 4. 


\€2 ADONIS. 

committed, it is not Jehovah^ but the Pheaiiidaii ihitf 
Adorns, who ia the God of the Old Testament. 

Jehovah then, had more than canae enough for jealoaiy 
ag^Dst the encroachmenta of Adenia, and in one moat 
striking instance, the worship of this idol, nader his nana 
Tammuz, is denounced as an atrocious abominaliMu 
Then he brought me to the door of the gate iff the Lord's home, 
which was towards the north, and iihold there saJt womm 
weeping for Ta/itm<iz«— (ESseldel viii. 14) 

Here Jerome interprets T^DJl TammuSy by Adonis, who 
he observes, is in Hebrew and Sjrriac, caUed Adonis. 

'' I find myself obliged, (says the pious author of the 
Greek and Hebrew Lexicons,) to refer Taramua, as 
well as the Greek and Roman Hercules, to that class of 
idols, which was originally designed to represent the pro- 
mised Saviour, the Desire of all nations. His other naas^ 
Adonis, is almost the very Hebrew OTIH or our Lord, a 
well-known title of Christ." 

Such are the words of the ingenuous, most learned^ and 
orthodox Parkhurst, who proceeds to exhibit this resem- 
blance of Adonis and Christ, by subjoining, with acknow* 
lodgements to his authorities Spearman and Godwjfn,. a 
passage from Julius Firmicius, which in my earlier writingi 
I was content to quote, as be had done, at seamdrhanL 
The retirement and leisure however which my Christiaa 
persecutors have forced upon me, and the attentioDs ot 
my unbelieving friends, have enabled me to study the very 
rare and curious original itself. It is an oration or ad- 
dress of Julius Firmicius delivered to the Emperors Ooa^ 
stans and Constantius ; the object of which was to induce 
those pious princes to seize the property of their Pagaa 
subjects, and apply it to Christian uses — than which, of 
course, nothing could have been more orthodox. Aftsff 
forty-five pages of abuse heaped on the ancient Pagans 
for their egregious forms of idolatry, in which by a moat 
curious mystical interpretation of their ceremonies, he 
discovers Christ to have been represented by them aU, — 
he adds, '^ *Let us propose another symbol, that by eok 
efibrt of cogitation, their wickedness may be revealed, of 
which we must relate the whole process in order that it 
may be manifest to all^ that the law of the divine appoint- 

* Aliud etiam symbolum proponamus, ut conamine cof^itationis, seel 

reYelentor ; cujus totus ordo dicendus est, ut apud omnes constet dWin» (Hs- 

potitlonis legem, pcrrersa Diaboli imltatione corraptara. Noete qnadm 

■imiiUcruin in lectica flapinim ponitar, et per numeros diirestin fletibot pImh 

fitnr. Deindc cum se ficta lanicntatione satiavorint, lamen inferfvr. Ta 

AD0MI8. 168 

hath been connpted bv the devil's perverse imita- 
On a certain night rwhfle Ae ceremony of the 
m, or religious rites in nonoor of Adonis lasted) an 
) was laid out upon a bed, and bewailed in dolefiil 
I. After they had satiated themselves with fictitious 
itations^ light was brought in ; then the mouths of 
9 mourners were anointed by the priest, upon which 
riesty with a gentle murmer, whispered — 

Trntt ye, nuDto, yonr God restored, 
Trust ye, in your ri$en Lord ; 
For the peine which he endnred 
Our selTBtion here procured. 

m which tbeir sorrow was turned into ioy, and the 
) was taken, as it were out of its sepulchre." These 
words, though their sense is evidently implied, have 
rect authority in the original, but seem to be a scho- 
if Mr. Spearman. Firmicius, in his tide of eloquence, 
3 his conclusion elliptical ; and breaks away into in- 
nt objurgation of the priest who officiated in those 
en mysteries, which, he admitted, resembled the 
dan sacrament in honour of the death and resurrec* 
f Jesus Christ, so closely, that there was really no 
mce between them, except* that no sufficient proof 
een given to the world or the resurrection of Adonis, 
o divine oracle bad borne witness to his resurrec- 
lor had he shown himself alive after his death to 
who were concerned to have assurance of the fact, 
they might believe. The divine oracle (be it ob« 
I,) which had borne witness to the resurrection of 
if but which it seems had vouchsafed no such 
irable testimony to the resurrection of Adonis, was 
other than the answer of the God Apollo, at Delphos ; 
; this author derives from Porphyry's books on the 
wohy of Oracles ; and which Eusd[>ius has conde- 
ea to quote, as furnishing one of Ae most convincing 

loie omniuni qui flcbent, faaees nnguntur, qnibns pernnetis, lacerdoe 
immre susurrat : — 

OoppcTrc fivartu rs b^a frtcntfffuwe 
EfTTM yap rifuy ck xoyat¥ fftm^ia, 
y, ** Trust ye communicants; the Ood faeTinff been saTed, there 

tons out of pains, salvation." Godwyn, who seems not to have 
red the metre of the original, rMidf*rs it ** TrmU ye in God, for out 
r, iallHition is come unto ««." 
i t«i mors nota est, vita noa comparet; nee dc resurrectione ejus 

aliquando resnondit oracuiom, nee hominibus se post mortem ot 
lere^, ostendit, nuUa hujus operis doeumenta promisit, nee se hoe 
I esse pnecedcntibns monstraTit oxemplis. — De Krrore jnrof. Relig. 

M 2 

104 ADONIS. 

proofs that could be adduced from tbe admission of an 
adversary of the resurrection of Christ* 

'' But thou at least/' says Eusebius, '' listen to Aikw 
own Gods, to thy oracular deities themselves, who have 
borne mtness, and ascribed to our Saviour, not impos- 
ture, but piety and wisdom, and ascent into heaYea.** 
Quoted in the author's Syntagma, p. 116. This was vasdj 
obliging and liberal of the &od Apollo; only, it happens 
awkwardly enough, that the whole work (consisting of 
several books) ascribed to Porphyry, in which this and 
other admissions equally honourable to the evidences of 
the Christian religion, are made, was not written by Po^ 
phyry, but is altogether the pious forgery of Christiiui 
hands ; who have kindly fathered the great philosopher 
with admissions, which as he would certainly never nave 
made them himself, they have very charitably made fbr 

But not alone the very name Adon, or Adonai, nor the 
particular manner in which that God was worshipped^ oe* 
curring as frequently as the name Jehovah, and by the 
Jews themselves constantly maintained to be the seiuNi of 
that name, and proper to be used rather than, and instead 
of it ; but the distinctive attributes of Adonis, the pecn- 
liarly characteristical epithets and designations by whidi 
that idol was identified from all others, prove beyond die 
possibility of doubt, that the Jews were worstuppers of 
the self-same Adonis, adored by their Phcenician neigh- 
bours. Adonis was distinguished for his persona! beauty. 
We find entire odes or psalms in praise of his beaiity,t 
and his characteristic epithet of The Beauty of Holi- 
ness used interchangeably, instead of his name. ^ He 
appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should pniso 
TheBeivty of Holiness.*'— 2 Chron. XX. 31. 

" The DevO," says Firmicius, " has his Christs,"^ of 
which he afiects not to deny that this Adonis was one. 
But one of the strongest sensible proofs of the dilBemiGe 
between the false Christs and the true one, which diis 

* Firmicias, qunteii this Christian forgery under th« title I^pc r^t 
^Oioffo^aa, — Easebius, avails himself of it, as nipi Xayitm fryos 
Macknight and Doddridge, strove mightily to culist it into the serrioeofthe 
Church Militant ; hot it would not do. 

drsih u'^rhrk ^yo, d bv yrwrxs^i m \rrin xntk ^no maw ♦ 

Thou art handsome, beyond the sons ef Adam, love is diffused la thy Upfi 
for the sake of which, God is enamoured of Uiee for ever. — Psalm 46. 

X llubet ergo Dinbolns Christos snos, p. 46. 


MilhoT could iidldnoe» vms, that the ointment with which 
the Pagan priests anointed the lips of the mystics, or 
initiated in the Adoma, or sacrament of our Lord Adonis, 
mmM wholly different from the wiguerUum immortale 
which God the Father gave to his only Son,* and which 
the Son bestows on aU those who believe in the divine 
aM^ esty of his name : for Christ's ointment, he would have 
■a to know, is '' of an immortal composition, and mixed 
«P with the spiritual scents of paints, of myrrh, aloes, and 
cassia, out of ivory palaces ; whereas the Pagan oint- 
SMnt was, I dare say, little better than cart-grease. — 
Nobody need know any more about Vir, Clarus Julius 
-Fumicus Matemus. 

The Adonia were solemn feasts in honour of Venus, 
and in memory of her beloved son, Adonis. Venus, as 
•pmng from the sea. Mare, could not be more honourably 
diigtingoished than by her epithet Maria ; Adonai is lite- 
xally Our Lord : so that these solemn feasts, without any 
Aaiige or substitution of names, were unquestionably 
celebrated to the honour of Mary and her son. Our 
J[iOKD ; to whomsoever else those names may have in later 
ana been applied. They were observed by the Greeks, 
numicians, Lycians, Syrians, Egyptians, and indeed by 
almost all the nations of the then known world. It is 
universally agreed, that it is to these ceremonies that 
the Jewish God refers in the 8th chapter of Ezekiel, 
where they are denounced as an abomination ; we find 
bf inference, an honourable apology for the Jewish 
nation, who, as a people, have through so many ages, 
rafiued to embrace a religion, which in so many par- 
ticolars, and even in the continuance of the same names, 
bmm lost all possibility of being distinguished in their 
apprehension from " the abomination of the Sidonians.** 
llie festival of the Adonia was still observed at Alexandria, 
the cradle of the Christian religion, in the time of St. Cyril ; 
aad at that Antioch, where the disciples were first called 
Ghxistians, (Acts xi. 26,) even as late as the time of 
ijske emperor Julian, commonly called the Apostate; 
** whose arrival there during the solemnity was taken for 
aa. HI omen.*' — Heirs Pantheon. This is surely a curious 
admission of our Christian mythologists. Let tlie reader 
aak himself, and answer as he may the questions emer- 

* All«d est unffoeDtom quod Deai pater unico tradldit fiUo, Ac. p. 46. — ^fv. 
in it! place, under the name Christ, what Herinus though slippery, arguments 
th« Fathers build on ointment or pomatam. 

166 aImMM. 

il^ent from this state of the Christian e^dencM— 1/ Wliat 
argament can be drawn ttom the wonderful prroagatfaMi 
of the Gospel^ when in the city where it was at first inoet 
successfully preached, and where the disciples were ftrst 
called Christians, it had not, even in the fourth centoiy, 
abolished the Pagan and idolatrous festival of me 
Adonia? — 2, And wherefore should the arrival of the 
emperor Julian (a known apostate from the Christian 
religion, and a zealous patron of Paganism), during tiie 
celebration of the Adonia, have been considered as an ill 
omen, but that the Adonia had come to be considered as 
entirely a Christian festival f — 3. And at what time, or 
whether ever, the festival of the Adonia was distinctly 
abolished, and that of the Christian Easter established 
upon its overthrow ? 

For the solution of these most important inquiries, we 
hold up the light of the admissions of ecclesiastical his* 
torians. It must ever be borne in mind, that the Chris* 
tians of the second, third, and fourth centuries indus- 
triously laboured to give their religion the nearest possible 
resemblance to the ancient Paganism; and confessedly 
adopted the liturgies, rites, ceremonies, and terms of hea- 
thenism ; making it their boast that the Pagan religion, 
properly explained, really was nothing else than Christianity; 
that the best and wisest of its professors in all ages had 
been Christians all along ; that Christianity was but a name 
more recently acquired to a religion which had previously 
existed, and had been known to the Greek philosophen, 
to Plato, Socrates, and Heraclitus; and that ''if the 
writings of Cicero had been read as they ought to have 
been, there would have been no occasion for the Christiaii' 
Scriptures/' Nor did some of them, who maintained Aat 
Jesus Christ had a real existence, hesitate to ascribe to 
him a work in which '' he himself expressly declared that 
he was in no way opposed to the worship of the gods and 
goddesses ;"* while our most orthodox Christian divines, 
the best learned in ecclesiastical antiquity, and most 
entirely persuaded of the truth of the Christian religion, 
unable to resist or to conflict with the constraining demon- 
stration of the data that prove the absolute sameness and 
identity of Paganism and Christianity; and unable to 
point out so much as one single idea or notion, of whidi 
they could show that it was peculiar to Christianity, or 

* See the Chapter of Admiislons in this Diegebis ; and Jones en tke 
Canon, vol. I. p. II. 


ifcftt CSirtoCianitf had it, and Paganuun had it not; liaye in- 
.vvnted the apok^ of an hypothesis ; that thePagan religion, 
like the Jewish dispensation, was typical; and that Her- 
4p)es, Adonis, &c. were all of them types and forernnnere 
of the trae and real Hercules, Adonis, &c. our Lord and 
Sayionr Jesns Christ Nothing is more easily conceivable, 
Aan that the priests and devotees of any one of the innu* 
nerable forms of absurdity which superstition might from 
time to time assume, should decry all others, and pretend 
that tteir's alone was divine : nothing is so hard to be 
eonceived, as that a G^od of infinite wisdom and truth 
should be the author of a religion so litde superior, and 
•o closely resembling the devices of juggling priests and 
self-interested impostors, that it should not be in the 
pow;er of any man on earth, who would judge impartially, 
to discover in what the superiority consists ; or that there 
s really any difference at all between them. 



^ It was an established custom among the ancient 
Phondcians, on any calamitous or dangerous emergency, 
for the ruler of the state to oifer up, in prevention of the 
feneral ruin, the most dearly^beloved of his children, as 
a ransom to divert the divine vengeance. They who were 
devoted for this purpose, were offered mystically , in con-* 
sequence of an example which had been set this people 

a the god Kronus, who, in a time of distress, offered up 
only son to his father Ouranus. The mystical sacrifice 
of the Phoenicians had these requisites : 1st. That a prince 
was to offer i t ; 2nd. That his only son was to be the victim ; 
8rd. That he was to make this grand sacrifice invested with 
the emblems of royalty." — Bryant's Observations on Ancient 
Hitiory, quoted in Archbishop Magees Work on the Atone- 
ment, vol. 1, p. 388. This is the Archbishop of Dublin, 
whose spirit, temper, and conduct are so strikingly in 
harmony with those he ascribes to a God delighting in 
Mood and bloody sacrifices, famous for his incxomble 
severity hi the government of his diocese, and bis cruel 
treatment of the interior clergy ; nor less distinguished for 


laS CHRttHNA. 

the convenieiit flexibility of his own orthodosy. ftm »fe 
known in private to langh at the folly of his own doctmM»» 
as in public he yentored to declare, that though he be- 
lieved in the Articles of the Chnrch of England collectivdgp^ 
he did not believe in them separately. 

Here is, in fact, a first draft of the whole ChiistiM 
scheme, existing in a country neighbouring on Judea* 
many hundreds of years before it became moulded into 
its present shape. 

Jesus Christ, the sou of a king, is ofiered by God to 
himself, to avert his own vengeance, and this is repeatedly 
called the mystery of the Gospel^ (Col. L 26). Had the 
Gospel been matter of fact, there could have bemk no 
mystery in it. 

And they put on him a scarlet robe." Matt xxvii. 28. 

And they clothed him with purple." Mark xv. 17. 

'' And arrayed him in a gorgeous robe." Luke xxiii. U. 

" And they put on him a purple robe." John xix. 3. 

And set up over his head, his accusation, written — 

" This is Jesus, the King of the 

Jews." Matt xxvii. 87. 

"The King OP THE Jews." Mark xv. 26. 

" This is the King of the Jews." Luke xxiii. 88. 

" Jesus op Nazareth, the Kino 

OF THE Jews." John xix. 19. 

Such a mockery of a dying malefactor, never in anj 
other instance, disgraced the judicial administration of a 
Roman magistrate. 

The addition of the important words, Jesus of Nazareik, 
in the later Gospel of St. John, strongly indicates the 
intention of making the circumstances of a previoosly 
existing gospel apply to a newly-invented name for the 
old hero. 



*' That the name of Chrishna, and the general out- 
line of his story," says the pious and learned Sir William 
Jones, '^were long anterior to the birth of our Saviour^ nnd 

OKRItHMA* 149 

pv^lMdrfy to the time of Homer, we kmno vety certmufy^* — 
Jkwmiic tUiearoheB, toL 1, p^ 259. 

" In the Saiiflcrit DictioDary, compiled more than two 
Iboneand years ago, we have the whole story of the incar- 
nate deity bom of a vii^iin, and miraculously escaping in 
hia infancy from the reigning tyrant of his country/' — 
IHd. pp. 259, 200. 207. !»^2, 273. 

^ I am persuaded/' continues this great author, than 
whom higher authority cannot be adduced — ^''I am 
peisnaded, that a connection existed between the old 
idolatrous nations of J^pt, India, Greece, and Italy, 
long before the time of Moses." — Ibid. p. 259. 

'' Very respectable natives have assured me, that one 
or two missionaries have been absurd enough in their 
for the conversion of the Gentiles, to urge, that the 
were even now almost Christians; because their 
Brahma, Vishnou and Mahesa, were no other than the 
C^stian Trinity : a sentence, in which wc can only doubt 
whether folly, ignorance, or impiety, predominates. The 
Indian triad, and that of Plato, which he calls the Supreme 
Goad, the Reason, and the Soul, are infinitely removed 
from the holiness and sublimity of the doctrine which 
pious Christians have deduced from texts iu the Gospel.'' — 
aid. p. 272. 

The celebrated poem Bh&gavat, contains a prolix 
account of the life of Chrishna : — " Chrishna, the incar- 
nate deity of the Sanscrit romance, continues to this 
hour the darliug god of the Indian women. The sect of 
Hmdus, who adore him with enthusiastic and almost 
exclusive devotion, have broached a doctrine which they 
maintain with eagerness, that he was distinct from all the 
avatars (or prophets), who had only a portion of his 
divinity, whereas Chrishna was the person of Vishnou 
•(CUmI) himself in a human fonn."* — lUd. p. 260. 

Chrishna was believed to have been bom from the left 
intercostal rib of a virgin of the royal line of Devaci. 
'' He passed a life of a most extraordinary and incom- 
mehensible nature. His birth was concealed, through 
fyax of the tjnrant Cansa, to whom it had been predicted 
that one bom at that time, in that family, would destroy 
him."— /fru2. p. 259. 

^ He was fostered, therefore, in Mat'hura, by an honest 

* ^ For Id UadweUeth »U the ftilnesff of the Godhead bodily."— S Coloft- 

herdman, Sluniamed Anaiida, or the Bappy, and -ilifl 
amiable wife, Yaaoda/' — AsuUie Reftarckes^yil. 1, p. 9SD* 

^ Ghiiflbna, when a boy^ slew tike terrible serpeat 
Caliya, with a number of serpents and monsters. He 
passed his youth in playing with a party of miik-maids; 
and at the age of seven years, he held up a mountain tm 
the tip of his little finger. He saved multitudes, partly 
by his arms, and partly by his miraculous powers. He 
raised the dead, by descending for that purpose to tile 
lowest regions. He was the mediest and best-tempeied 
of beings. He washed the feet of the Brahmins, and 
preached very nobly indeed, and sublimely, but always in 
their favour. He was pure and chaste in reality, but 
exhibited an appearance of excessive libertinism ; and had 
wives or mistresses too numerous to be counted. Lastly, 
he was benevolent and tender, yet fermented and con- 
ducted a terrible war." — Ibid. p. 278. 

" The adamantine pillars of our faith cannot tie shaken 
by an investigation of heathen mythology. I, who 
cannot help believing the divinity of the Messiah, from 
the undisputed antiquity, and manifest completion of 
many prophecies, &c. am obliged, of cottrse, to bdieve 
the sanctity of the venerable books to which tiiat sacrsjd 
PBRSON refers." — Ibid. p. 233. 

The above extracts arc taken literally from the 1st 
volume of the Asiatic Researches, chapter 9th, on the 
Gods of Greece, Italy, and India, written in 1784, and 
since revised by the president. Sir William Jones. 

I have thought it supremely important to present the 
text of this great author, and to leave the reader to draw 
his own conclusion. Higher authority could not be 
quoted. One better acquainted with the Hindostanee 
language, and with the documents and evidence frtnta 
which such information could be acquired, could hardly 
be conceived to exist ; and certainly, never was any man 
further from the intention of supplying arms to infidelity. 
The unquestionable orthodoxy of Sir William Jones must, 
therefore; give to admissions surrendered by him, the 
utmost degree of cogency ; while his unequalled and unrn 
valled learning stands as a tower of strength, to render 
our position impregnable, upon the lines to which he has 
authorised our advance, and recognised our right. 

Nothing in the whole compass of ecclesiastical history 
lias so perplexed and distressed the modem advocates of 
Christianity, as these surrenders made by their own best 

md BbleOt diimplon, toiiae cause of iafideKtj. Onr 
•fangdical polemics, indeed, lose all tenperupon hearing 
tat an allu^on to this most unluckily discovered proto- 
type of their Jewish deity. No language of insolence 
against those who point out the resemblance, is too out- 
ragooufr— no shift or sophistication to evade or conceal 
it, too pitiful. 

The sun is not more dissimilar to the moon, say our 
Unitarian divines, than is Chrishna to Christ* No man 
in his senses, say our evangehcals, could believe that 
the two personages were identical. Onr Methodists f 
meanly and pitifully alter the spelling of the name from 
the original orthography, which rests on the high autho* 
rity of Sir William Jones, and invariably print it as 
Kri9hiu, or KrishnOy to screen the resemblance from the 
eye's observance ; while they accuse their opponents of 
spelling it as they do (correctly), for the contrary purpose 
the resemblance more striking. 


Dr. Bentley, as a dernier resource, flies to astrology — 
source inexhaustible of all that is wild in conjecture, and 
delusive in argumentation, to supply his drowning hypo- 
thesis with a straw to swim on. •* My attention," says ne, 
^ was first drawn to this subject, by finding that a great 
many Hindu festivals marked in the calendar, had every 
appearance of being modern ; for they agreed with the mo- 
mm astronomy only, and not with the ancient. I observed 
also several passages in the Greeta having a reference to the 
new order of things. I was, therefore, induced to make 
Jmrricular inquiries about the time of Krishna, who, I was 
satisfied, was not near so ancient as pretended.j: In these 
enquiries, I was told the usual story^ that Krishna lived 
a great many ages ago; that he was contemporary vsrith 
Tudheshthira ; that Garga, the astronomer, was his 
priest; and that Garga was present at his birth, and 

• ReT. Mr. Beard's Third Letter to the Author, p. 87. 

t ReT. Dr. John Pye Smith, in Answer to the Aathor, p. M. A truly 

Sblime tpeclmtin of oTatigelical malignity. Thia holy Parthian throws 
I stone, and protects himself under pretence of treating his adversary 
with contempt ! 

% He was satisfied, it seems, before he began to iuqaire— a pretty good 
security to ensure that the result of his inquiry would be taiufactorif. He 
who is in possession of what he pretends to seek for, before (b commences 
his seareb, will be sure to know when and where. tn flad iL 


detemrined the poritton of the planets Mt that 
whidi position was still preserved in some books to ko 
foond among the astronomeis : besides whidi, there was 
mention made of his birth in the Haiivansa, and othsr 
ParSnas. These I examined, bnt fonnd they were insofll- 
dent to point ont the time ;* I therefore directed my atten- 
tion towards obtaining the Janampatra of Krisfinffi» 
omtaining the positions of the planets at his birth, wUch 
at length I was fortunate to meet with;f fiom whidi k 
mpears that Krishna was bom on the 28d of the bmrmi 
Siiyana.'* The writer then gires the position of the 
planets at the birth of Krishna, and states that *^ they 
place the time of the fiction in tfie year a. d. 000, on tbie 
7th of August, at midnight/' — Bentky om Anciemi mmi 
Modem HMu Astrtmomy, quoted by Mr. Beard, in his 8d 
Letter to the Author, p. 90. 

Dr. Bentley is indeed a name of first-rate honour amimg 
Christian tbeolognes, and is frequently appealed to as 
one of their highest authorities, ** the learned BenUey,** 
** the prince of critics/^ &c. The reader, however, cannot 
be better led to judge how he should appreciate this great 
man's decision, than by consulting the temper and spirit 
which appears in the annexed specimen of his manner of 
answering the objections of unbelievers, and which I find 

a noted by his zealous admirer :— '^ What a scheme would 
lese men make ? What worthy rules would they prescribe 
to Providence ? And pray, to what great use or design ? 
To give satisfaction to a few obstinate, untractable 
wretches ; to those who are not convinced by Moses and the 
prophets, but want one to come from the dead and convort 
them ! Such men mistake the methods of Providence, and 
the very fundamentals of religion, which draws its votaries 
by the cords of a man ; by rational, ingenuous, and moral 
motives; not by conviction mathematical, not by new 
evidence miraculous, to silence every doubt and whim 
that impiety and folly can suggest. And yet all this would 
have no effect upon such spirits and dispositions. If they 
now believe not Christ and his Apostles, neither would 
they believe if their own schemes were complied with.^— 
Phtkleutherus Lipsiensis, p« 114. 

The reader is here in fall possession of the Christiaii 
argument. He must bear in mind, however, that the 
argument, as thus far stated, is entirely in Christian hands. 

* Aye, to be tare 1 to be tare ! they pointed the wrong way ! 
t O fortWMte fellow ! Td htYe iworn he would htve owt with it I 

aiHBHNA. m 

Had we yontored to supply to these admiasioiig, the ftur- 
ther diseoreries which unbelmriiig historians have made« 
we mig^t have enridied our matter with the still mate 
striking coincidence of the &cts ; that the reputed fietther of 
Chrishna was a carpenter, and that he was pat to death at 
last between two thiet>e$: after which» he arose, from the 
dead, and returned again to his heavenly seat in Vai- 
con Aa ; leaying the instructions contained in the Geeta 
to be preached through the continent of India by his 
disconsolate son, and cUsdple Arjun/' 

TractcMe indeed, and easy of faith, must the adoptms 
of Dr. Bentley's explanation of the matter be, who can 
sufbr evidence of this character, yielded and supplied as 
it is, by authority as great as any they can pretend, and 
that authority too, entirely adverse to our deductions, to 
be swept away by palmistry, by a calculation of the posi- 
tion of the planets ; or defeated by a sagacious discovery 
of some chronological discrepancy, which Dr. Bentley, 
who was satisfied tiiat it was there before he looked for it) 
found in the Janampatra. 

The exquisite accuracy of the astrological demon- 
stration, that Kjrishna was bom on the 7tii of August, 
A. D. 600, at midnight; can only be put on the same footing 
with the chronology of Julius Africanus, who has in like 
manner demonstrated that the world was made on the 
1st of September, and was exactly five thousand five 
hundred and eight years, three months, and twenty-five 
days old at the birth of Christ. 

The argument against the antiquity of the Hindu 
mythology, from the discovery that '' a great many of its 
festivals, as now observed, agree with the modem astro- 
nomy only, and not with the ancient,'' is of no more 
validity, than if it were objected (as with equal truth it 
might be) that the time of celebrating our Cfhristian fes- 
tivals has in like manner been accommodated to more 
modem' arrangements of our calendar, and agrees not 
with the ancient astronomy. When the Hindu astrono- 
mers at any time found it convenient to alter their calendar, 
it was surdy as competent in them to make the times of 
celebrating their ancient festivals agree with their im- 
]Mroved knowledge of astronomy ; as it was for our Chris- 
tian astronomers to alter the style, and to fix the cele- 
bmtion of Easter and Whitsuntide to different seasons of 
the year firom diose in which they had been observed for 
previous ages. 


▲s for all the uDcertainty with respect to the alleged 
time of Uie birth of Cbrishna, there is but little ground for 
the adrautage of Christians, who have never yet been 
able to fix the date of the day, or month, or even of fhe 
year of the birth of Christ. 

** The year in which it happened/^ says Mosheim,* 
'^ has not hitherto been fixed with certamty, notwith- 
standing the deep and laborious researches of the learned." 
The learned John Albert Fabricius has collected all the 
opinions of the learned on the subject :t that which 
appears most probable is, that it happened about a year 
and six months before the death of Herod, in the year of 
Rome 748 or 749. *' The uncertainty, however, of this 
point," continues our great ecclesiastical historian, ** is of 
no great consequence. We know that the Sun of Righte- 
ousness has shone upon the world ; and although we can- 
not fix the precise period in which he arose, tliis will not 
preclude us from'enjoying the direction and influence of 
his vital and salutary beams.*' 

This is the most unfortunate figure of speech (if it be 
no more than a figure of speech) that Christians could 
possibly resort to ; since, instead of raising and exalting 
our ideas of the divine Saviour above all associations with 
the wild conceits of the heliolatry and idolatry of the hea- 
then world, it brings us at once to the irresistible appre- 
hension, that the Christian Saviour, after all, is no more 
than what the yEsculapius, Hercules, Adonis, Bacchus, 
Apollo, and Chrishna were ; that is, an emblematical per- 
sonification of the Sun. 

** Colonel Valency,'* says Sir William Jones, '^ assures 
me that Chrishna in Irish meaas tlie Sun." — Asiatic 
Researches, vol. 1, p. 263. 

The taking of Uie name of a thing in any unknown lan- 
guage for the name of a person, would naturally render 
these personifications infinite ; and cause the natural his- 
tory of thitigs without life to be related or understood as if 
they had been real adventures of actually existing person- 
ages. Hence, have we actions and sufleriugs, sentiments 
and aflections, and all that could be predicated of rational 
beings — predicated not only of animals, but of vegetables 
and inanimate substances, of the works of men's hands, 
and even of the abstractions of their thoughts. The ship 
Argo, in which Jason and his companions sailed for the 

* Ecclesiastical History, vol. 1, p. AS. 

t lu his Bibliograpk. Anliquar, cap. 7, sect. 10, p» 187. 


goldeafloacA) htd Hb imagmmy mpnd qaaiities ; it fooghi 
tbe wmreB, it snfferedt. it ccmquecad, it was trandated mto 
h ei an. The dispositioa of mind called charityj ib 
deMsribed by St Paul, under, all the circamstances that 
coold be imagined of a most accomplished and lovely 
womMii ** 8h€ smffertth long, cmd u kind; the doth not 
hekaot herHlfumeemly, setketh not her own, is not earify pro^ 
nokidy^ &c* (1 Cor. xiiL) ; though nothing could be further 
fipom his intention, than that we should take charity to be 
a person who had a real existence, and &11 to the ioUj <tf 
endeavouxing to find out when die was bom, under what 
kii^B^s reign, and in what country, 9uo. ; as it may be con- 
jectured some have done with respect to other personifi* 
catioas, whose existence, actions and sufferings, were of 
an equally metaphorical and figurative origination. But 
if the identity of the mythological personages, Christ and 
ChEudma, and the absolute derivation of the Christian 
firom the Hindu or Brahminical religion, might yet seem 
matter rather of curious excc^tation, than of satisfactory 
proof; the matter receives the utmost corroboration which 
any historical fact of such remote antiquity, could be 
conceived to have, from the entire discomfiture and over* 
throw of all attempts to evade the coDclnsion, which we 
achieve in the strength of further researches, later dis- 
coveries, and ampler concessions won from the conviction 
q£ the most intelligent of Christians themselves, who have 
daied to trust themselves with the important investiga- 

We have become better acquainted with the evidences 
of the Christian religion than it was possible for the Lard- 
ners, Watsons, or Paleys to have been. — ^We have means 
of ii^ormation which they had not — ^We are in possession 
of intelligence, the result of more extensive researdi, of 
more impartial enquiry, and of more recent discoveries, 
of which they were absolutely ignorant 

No work whatever, of the divines of the now antiquated 
school of Christian -evidence writers, can be fairly ad- 
duced either as authority or argument, against the thou- 
sand-fold more formidable array of objections^ which have 
emerged even within the last ten years, from the further 
concessions made by divines themselves, from tbe im- 
proved powers of reasoning, advanced science, extended 
knowledge, and greater mond courage of unbdievers, ta 
bring up that science and knowledge to the conflict. 

To pretend any longer that infidels insist only on argu- 

178 CHBIftHNA. 

mentB that have alroady been answered, or lafiited, is ta 
discover the grossest ignorance of what their argmneatft 
really are, and in that ignorance to find the only ezcue 
for what such a pretence really is, — the grossest ftlae- 

To pretend to refer the anxious mind for the sdlution 
of its doubts to any defence of the Christian religjon 
written earlier than the present century, is but parallel in 
absurdity to the setting a medical student of the present 
day to acquire his knowledge of chymistry and physic 
from the cumbrous folios of Paracelsus, Bombastus^ or 
the Commentaries of Van Sweeten, Hippocrates, and 

After the unmeasured abuse, and bitter vituperatians 
which I have incurred for the prominence which I have 
given to this most pregnant argument, I find Godfrey 
Higgins, Esq. ^f Skellow Grange, Yorkshire, himself a 
very learned, ingenious* and sincere Christian, in his 
superb work on the Celtic Druids, published by R. Hunter, 
1827, thus laying at our feet, the keys of the fortress^ 
in the assault of which, I have taken such hard words» 
hard usage, and every thing that was hard, except hard 
arguments : — 

** After Baillie, and some other learned astronomeis 
had turned their attention to the ancient astronomical in- 
struments, calculations, and observations of India, it was 
discovered that they proved the antiquity of the world to 
be so great, that what was called by our priests, the 
Mosaic system of chronology, could not be supported. 
Immediately upon this, they set every engine at work to 
counteract the effects of the recorded observations of die 
Hindus, by representing that they are, in fact, merely 
pretended observations founded on back-reckonings. 

** Professor Playf'air of Edinburgh, has given the most 
decisive proofs in the Edinburgh Philosophical Transactunu^ 
that the Brahmins, to have made the back-reckonings^ 
must have been well acquainted with the most refined of 
the theoretical improvements of modem astronomy. In- 
stead of having forgot the principles of their formulas^ 

* Mr. Higgins mast forgive my hoping, that his false way of speUing 
Ckrithta (which is certainly Chrishna, and not Krishna) , may not be an ex- 
ception against his ingenooosness. It was rery natural thst he should endee* 
Toor to bring his Christ out of the scrape as well as he could, and aara Ui 
Saviour! But Krishna, or Chrishna, is fatal to Christ, spell him t'en as jom 

t See Vol. 9, and Vol. 4. 

CHRrenNA. 177 

they must have been much more learned than we know 
they were, and in fact than their ancestors ; indeed more 
learned than our modem astronomers were, until the 
astronomical theories of Newton were completed very lately, 
liy the discoveries of some of the French philosophers*'* 

** Near the city of Benares, in India, are the astrono- 
mical instruments cut out of the solid rock of a moun- 
taiDj wluch in former times, were used for making the 
observations, which Sir William Jones and the priests 
say, were only back*reckonings. The Bramins of the 
present day, it is said, do not know the use of them ; they 
are of great size, and tradition states them to be of the 
most remote antiquity. If the astronomical facts stated 
in the works of the Bramins, be the effects of the back- 
redLonings, the Bramins of the present day are as ignorant 
of the formulae on which they are grounded, as they are 
of the nature of the astronomical instrumefnts. If they 
have become acquainted with them, it is by the instruction 
of Europeans." 

^ A gentleman, in the Asiatic Researches, has lately, 
by means of the most deeply learned and laborious caJ- 
colations,* discovered that the history of Krishna, one of 
the most celebrated Gods of the Hindoos, was invented 
in the year of Christ six hundred ; and that the story was 
laid about the beginning of the Christian aera. This goes 
directly to overthrow all the Hindoo calculations. He 
has proved this as clear as the sun at noon ! He has 
absolutely demonstrated it ! but it is unfortunate for this 
demonstration, that the statue of this God is to be found 
in the very oldest caves and temples throughout all India, 
— tonples, the inscriptions on which are in a language 
used previously to the Sanscrit, and now totally unluiown 
to all mankind, any day to be seen amongst other 
places, in the city of Seringham, and the temple at Mal- 

^ It has been moreover satisfactorily proved, on the 
auihority of a passage of Adrian, that the worship of 
Krishna, was practised in the time of Alexander the Great 
(380 years before Christ), at what still remains one of the 
most famous temples of India, the temple of Mathura, on 
the Jumna, the Matura Deorum of Ptolemy. So much for 
ttis astronomical demonstration.*' — Celtic Druids, pp. 154, 
160, 156, 157. 

* Tbese ** Uhorimu emtctUatiotu" nre Dr. Beatley'i wrrtched shifts to s«Tt 


.178 CHRIgHNA. 

''It seems the miraculously and stupendously learned 
Bentley, who was to put all the enemies of the Lord to 
silence, has reckoned without his host ; and in discoTer- 
ing by help of the Janampatra, that, from a certain relatiye 
location of the planets, it would appear that Chrishna was 
bom on the 7th of August, A. d. 600, at midnight ; it 
happened most unfortunately for his learned wiseacreahip, 
not to occur to him, that all these facts of the locations of 
the planets, are periodical — so that if he be right, that 
the time of the birth of Chrishna can be inferred from such 
a location and the circumstances attending it, (a thing in 
itself very doubtful) ; all that he will prove, will be, uiat 
the pretended birth of this God must have taken place, 
at a similar part of a period, some time before the war of 
Alexander the Great And thus, if we know the length 
of the period or cycle referred to, we shall know the bUest 
time at which this God was feigned to be bom before the 
birth of Alexander/' Mr. Higgins, informs us, that when our 
army, of Indian Seapoys arrived at Thebes in TS^STP^ ui the 
course of the French war, they discovered their mvomite 
God Chrishna, and instantly fell to worshipping, (no 
doubt the cunning rogues of Bramins* ccune to E|^t in 
the year 600, and placed his statue amongst the ruins l") 

'' I made every attempt my time would permit,'' says 
Col. Fitzclarence, " to discover the celebrated figure which 
caused the Hindoos with the Indian contingent, to find 
fault with the natives of this country, for allowing a tem- 
ple of Vishnou to fall to ruins ; but did not succeed.*'t 

'^ I could say much more," says Mr. Higgins, ^* on the 
subject of this temple at Mathura, for it is very cniions — 
but I much prefer letting it alone ! ! ! " — Celtic Druids, p JL57. 

In the name of Grod, what means this letting it ahaef 
Christians have to thank their persecuting City Alder- 
men, their prompt recourse to the arguments of stone 
and iron, their Dorchester and Oakham ; that when leally 
leamed and intelligent men tread on the threshhold of the 
most important discoveries, they much prefer *^ itttimt it 
4glone,** and leaving us to guess, where we might certaudy 
have known. 

In this dilemma, we may guess with a conviction little 
short of certainty — that it was never a little that priests 
would bog^e at — ^1. That the celebrated figure which CdL 
intzclarence was hindered from seeing, would have esti^ 

* This Mrcsim itfeirierere, but it ii from the pen of Chriitien Mr. QggiM, 
* beUerer in dirine rerflUtion. 
t In his TniTek, pp. 89S, 894. 

CHR18HNA. 179 

lished the absolute identity of the Indian Chrishna and 
tiie Egyptian Christ: 

In confirmation of this guess (if it be no more), we have 
the farther light of an admission from the Rev. Mr. Man- 
rice, of the canons fact, that '^ the two principal pagodas 
of India, viz. those of Benares and Mathura, are built in 
the form of crosses/'* 

3. That the grounds on which the Hindoos found fault 
with the British government for allowing a temple of 
Vishnou to fall to ruins, was, that the Christian religion 
was absolutely one and the same with the ancient Hindoo 
idolatry : 

8. lliat the travelling Egyptian Therapeuts brought 
the whole story from Imtia to their monasteries in 
]^;ypt, where, some time about the commencement of the 
Roman monarchy, it was transmuted into Christianity. 
The tales that had been previously told of the idol of the 
Oanges, were transferred to the twice-living demon of the 
Jordan, precisely as we see the histories of the Grecian 
heroes, pli^arized and told over again of Romans. Thus 
die combat of the Uoratii and Curiatii, had been related 
under different names, but with the same circumstances, 
by Democrates apud Stob^eum. The action of Mutius 
ScflBVola was told before of Agesilaus, and that of Curtius 
pirecipitatine himself into the gulf, has been ascribed also 
to a son of King Midas. See also Pagan heroes turned 
mto Christian saints, out of number : indeed, half the 
liaints of the Roman calendar are heathen gods and god- 
desses, and like the Jewish Jesus, a false creation pro- 
ceeding from the heat-oppressed brain. 

4. ^d lastly, that the Missionaries engaged by the 
East India Company, and otherwise sent to India for the 
09iensible purpose of propagating the gospel, are employed 
really in the diametrically opposite work, of doing their 
utmost to suppress it ; and to carry on the counsel which 
we see guiding their machinations at home, suppressing 
evidence, perverting facts, destroying or hindering the 
monuments of antiquity from coming to the knowledge of 
the community, persecuting and railing at infidels, and 
keeping up that state of general ignorance and consequent 
dewtion, that best disposes enslaved and degraded millions 
to bow to the yoke of tyranny, and '^ to order themselves 
lowly and reverently to all their betters." 

* Matirice'i Indian Antiquitief, toL 8, p. 961, quoted by Mr. Higgiiif» 
p. 127, Celtic Druidf. 

N 2 

180 APOLLO. 



CiCBRO mentions four of this name. Pansanias and 
Herodotas, rank Apollo among the Egyptian deities. 
Diodoms Siculus expressly states, tiiat Isis, after having 
invented tiie practice of medicine, taught this art to her 
son Orus, named also Apollo, who was tiie last of the 
Gods that reigned in Egypt It is easy to trace almost 
all the Grecian fables and mythologies from Egypt. If 
the Apollo of the Greeks, was said to be the son of 
Jupiter, it was because Orus, the Apollo of the Egyp- 
tians, had Osiris for his father, whom the Greeks con- 
founded with Jupiter. If the Greek Apollo were reckoned 
the God of eloquence, music, medicine, and poetry, the 
reason was, that Osiris, who was the symbol of the son 
among the Egyptians, as well as his son Orus, had there 
taught those liberal arts. If the Greek Apollo were the 
God and conductor of the muses, it was because Osiris 
carried with him in his expedition to the Indies, singing 
^omen and musicians. This parallel might be carried 
still further, but enough has been said to prove that the 
true Apollo was probably of Egypt. Plutarch, however, 
has decisively shown, that the Egyptians worshipped the 
Sun under the name of Osiris ; and as Osiris was believed 
to have travelled into India, and there established civiliza- 
tion and religion, we see at once enough to account for 
the same God coming to be worshipped in India under a 
designation in the language of that country expressive of 
the same sense as Chrishna, that is, the Sun. Many have 
doubted whether Apollo were a real personage, or only 
the great luminary. Vossius has taken pains to prove 
this God to be only an ideal being, and that there never 
was any Apollo but the sun. All the ceremonies per- 
formed to his honour, had a manifest relation to the great 
source of light which he represented; whence, this 
learned writer concludes it to be in vain to seek for any 
other divinity than the sun, adored under the name Apollo. 
Without any wish to overthrow or to conflict 
against a conclusion founded upon such just and incon- 
trovertible premises, one yet cannot restrain one's wish 
to have known whether so sincere a Christian, in con- 
sidering the language ascribed to the Gh>d Apollo, and 
the manifest relation to the great source of light in aU 

APOLLO. 181 

the ceremonies perfonned to his honour^ as constituting 
a complete demonstration, that such a personage as 
ApoUo never had any real existence, and that it was the 
sun, and the sun only that was worshipped under that 
designation ; whether he had found any clearer references 
to the source of light in that language and those cere- 
monies, than — 

1. That God should be believed to have said of himself, 
^ I am the light of the world.'* —John ix. 6. " I am come 
a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in me should 
not abide in darkness.'' — John xii. 46. 
' 2. ^ He hath sent me to preach the acceptable year of the 
Lord."— Luke iv. 19. 

8. That his sacred legends should abound only with 
such expressions as can have no possible or conceivable 
application, but to the God of day : '' A light to lighten the 
GentUes^ and to be the glory for brightness j (f his people," — 
Luke ii. 32. 

4. That this should be the express message which his 
apostles, or months, were to declare concerning him, that 
^' God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" — 
1 John i. 5. 

6. That his sincerest worshippers should usually have 
addressed him in such phrases as '^ Phosphore redde 

Sweet Phosphor bri>g the day. 

Whose cooqu'ring ray 

May chase these fogs, — sweet Phosphor bring the day. 

Quarle*» rendering qf Pealm xiiU 

6. ** Lighten our darkness we beseech thee Adonai, and by 
thy great mercy defend us from all perils o,nd dangers of this 
mgn£.'* — Collect, in EvetUng Service. 

7. " God of God, light of' light, very God of very God." — 
Nicene Creed. 

8. *' Merciful Adonai, we beseech thee to cast thy bright 
beams of light upon thy church." — Collect of St. John. 

9. ** O God, who, by the leading of a star, didst manifest 
iky only begotten Son to the nations." — Collect of the 

10. ** To thee all angels cry aUmd, the heavens, and all the 
powers therein." 

* Or shining forth.— A Christian poet will best iostmct as what starthal^ 
It was none other than Venus, the^tar of the God of day. 
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night. 
If better, thou belong not to the dawn — 
Sure pledge of day, that crownlrt the smiling mora 
Witt thy bright circle! l-^M^ming Hymn. 

183 APOLLO. 

11. " Heaven afui earth are full of the majesty of thf 
Clary/' {or brightness). 

12. ^' The clarions company of the (twelve months, or) 
apostles praise thee.'* 

13. " Thou art the King o/ Clary, O Christ r 

14. ** When thou tookest upon thee to deliver num, thorn 
passest though the constellation, or zodiacal sigit'-the Vir^imJ* 

16. " When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of winter, 
thou didst open the kingdom of heaven, — i. e. bring on fhe 
reign of the summer months, to all believers.^' And why 
is it that there should not be one single phrase or form 
of speech either in the New Testament or in our best 
Catholic or Protestant liturgies^ but in the most strict 
and literal sense is predicable of the sun, bat cannot 
without an inflected and considerably strained use of 
speech, and still more strained effort of the understand- 
ing, apply to the person of a man. Resurgere, to rise again: 
and ascendere in calum, to ascend into heaven, are expres- 
sions so plain and obvious, as that we could hardly find 
any to express the literal sense, nearer, of what we witness 
of the rising and setting sun every day of our lives ; 
whereas 'tis only by a most awkward and Tiolent catOr 
chresis in language, that they can be made to convey their 
theological significancy. 

'' All are agreed," says Cicero, " that Apollo is none 
other than the Sun, because the attributes which are 
commonly ascribed to Apollo do so wonderfuUy agree 

We are not allowed, however, to assume, that reasoning 
so incontrovertibly just and conclusiye with respect to 
the Pagan deity, would hold in any parity of api^cation 
to Jesus Christ, whom his holy Apostle so emphatically 
distinguishes as being '' the true light which lighteth every 
man that corneth into the world.'* — John i. 9. 

There can be no doubt but that Apollo was more gene- 
rally received in the Pagan world tiian any other deity, 
his worship being so universal, that in almost every region 
he had temples, oracles, and festivals, as innumerable as 
his various names and attributes. Among the most con- 
spicuous of his oracles were those of Phocis, at Claras in 
Ionia, at Delos, Delphi, and Didyma,t on Mount Ismenns, 

* Apolinein, aliud nihil esse qnam Solem, omnes consentiunt, qnippe cui Ula 
que ApoUiiu vnl^ tribnuntar, mirft conTenianL — Cic, 3. De Naiurm Df. 

f It cnn onlf be ascribed to a momentary suspension of the dirine inflnenoe 
which f uided the pen of the Evanselisty that one of the epithets of ApoUo-^ 
Didymin, should have been left in ut possession of an apostle of Jesos CliriiL— 
Mum. 24. 


in fioeoda, at Larissa among the Argives, and at Hdiopolis 
in E^iypt. 

^The Egyptians sometimes symbolized him by a radiated 
circle^ and at others by a sceptre with an eye aboire it — a 
symbol which we see at this day consecrated to the repre- 
sentation of the Christian Proviaence. Nor should we foi^t 
file daims of his ministers to a peculiar character of sanc- 
tity and holiness^ which we may well wonder how they should 
drer come to surrender to the pretensions of the preachers 
of Christianity: unless, indeed, we should venture to 
imagine that there was never any real difference between 
them, and that the priests of Apollo and of Jesus were 
ministers of the same religion, and of one and the same 
deity, under different names. Tis certain, that Apollo 
had a celebrated shrine at Mount Soracte in Italy, where 
ills priests were so remarkable for sanctity, and holiness 
of heart and life, that they could walk on burning coals 
unhurf — Bell's Panth. in loco. 

^Parkhurst, in his Hebrew Lexicon, under the word 
tTH 4, informs us," that " the JV ^V?^1 — * Praise ye Jah !' or 
'Hallelujah!' which the Septuagint have left untrans- 
lated, AXXnXovVa, which begins and ends so many of the 
Ptalms, ascribed to David, was a solemn form of praise to 
God, which, no doubt, was far prior to the time of David ; 
nnce the ancient Greeks had their similar acclamation, 
EXfXev In-—' Hallelujee!' with which they both began 
and ended their pmans, or hjrmns, in honour of Apollo/* 



This god calls for no further notice in our inquiry, than 
from Uie circumstance of his having been distinguished 
in the Pagan world by the evangelical title of the Logos, 
or the Word — *' The Word that in the beginning was 
€K>d, and that also was a Grod." 

Our Christian writers, from whose partial pens we are 
now obliged to gather all ihey will permit us to know of 
the ancient forms of piety, discover considerable appre- 
hension, and a jesdous caution in their language, where 
the resemblance between Paganism and Cbjristianity 
might be apt to strike the mind too cogently. Where 
Horace gives us a very extraordinary account of Mer- 



Gary's descent into hell,* and his causing a cessation of 
the sufferings thereof our Christian my thologist checks our 
curiosity, by the sudden break off—'' As this peifaaps 
may be a mystical part of his character, we had better let 
it alone."— Se/rs Panth. irol. 2, p. 72. But the farther 
back we trace the evidences of the Christian religioiiy 
the less concerned we find its advocates to maintain, gx 
even to pretend that there was any difference at aU 
between the essential doctrines of Christianity and 

Ammonius Saccus, a learned Christian Father, towards 
the end of the second century, had taught with the highest 
applause in the Alexandrian school, that " all the Grentile 
religions, and even the Christian, were to be illustrated 
and explained by the principles of an universal pkilosapl^ : 
but that, in order to this, the fables of the priests were to 
be removed from Paganism, and the comments and inter- 
pretations of the disciples of Jesus from Christianity;! 
while Justin Martyr, tiie first and most distinguished 
apologist for the Christian religion, who wrote within 
fifty years of the time of the EvangeUst St John, boldly 
challenges the respect of the emperor Adrian and his scm, 
as due to the Christian religion, just exactly on the score 
of its sameness and identity with the ancient Paganism. 

'' For by declaring the Logos, the first begotten of Grod, 
our Master, Jesus Christ, to be born of a virgin without 
any human mixture, to be crucified and dead, and to have 
risen again into heaven ; we say no more in this, than what 
you say of those whom you style the sons of Jove, &c. 
As to the Son of God, called Jesus, should we allow him 
to be nothing more than man, yet the title of the Son of 
God is very justifiable upon the account of his wisdom, 
considering that you have your Mbrcury in worship 
under the title of The Word, and Messenger of God." — 
Reeve's Apologies of the Fathers, vol. 1, London, 1716. 

Justin might, if he had pleased, have been still more 
particular, and have shown, tibat '' among the GaoISf 
more than a hundred years before the Christian era, in the 
district of Chartres, a festival was annually celebrated to 
the honour of the Virgo Paritura, the virgin tliat should 
brif^ forth'* — Dupuis, tom. 3, p. 61, 4to edit. 

* '' He descended into hell." — Jpattlet' Creed. " That he went down into 
Ml, nnd alio did rise again."— Bd^ltftma/ Service, " By which alio be woA 
9dA preached nnto the spirits in prison/*—! Pet. iii. 19. 

t Sea the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus. 

i MoiMm't Eccl. Hist.Tol. 1, p. 171. 

THE^WORD. 186 

V - 

Grdnzales also writes, that among the Indians he found 
il' temple Pariturae YirginiB, [of the virgin about to bring 

' The good Christian Father Epiphanias glories in the 
'fiM^t, that the prophecy, ^' Behold a virgin shall conceive and 
tring forth a son,** had been repealed to the Egyptians. — 
Celtic Druids, p. 168. This prophecy, however, shonld 
lather have been revealed to the Irish, as its literal aocom- 
]ilishment is so strikingly of a piece with the equally 
authentic miracles of their patron saint, who sailed across 
the ocean upon a mill-stone, and] contrived to heat an 
«ven red-hot with nothing but ice. — ^* Life of the glorious 
Bishop St. Patrick, by Fr. B. JB., St. Omers, 1626, by licence 
rfthe Censors of Louvaine, of the Bishop of St. Omers, and of 
the Commissary and Definitor^general of the Seraphic Order." 


The celebrated passage, " In the beginnit^ was the Word, 
mnd the Word was with God, and the Word was God,'* &c. 
(John i. 1 .) is a fragment of some Pagan treatise on the 
Platonic philosophy, and as such is quoted by Amelius, 
a Pagan philosopher, as strictly applicable to the Logos, 
or Mercury, the Word, as early as the year 263 ; and is 
quoted appropriately as an honourable testimony borne 
to the Pagan deity, by a barbarian. 

With no intention further off, than that of recognizing 
the claims of any human being to that title, Amelius has 
the words, '^ And this plainly was the Word, by whom 
all-things were made,; he being himself eternal, as Hera- 
ditus s3so would say ; and by Jove, the same whom the 
barbarian affirms to have been in the place and dignity 
of a principal, and to be with God, and to be God, by 
whom all things were made, and in whom every thing 
that was made, has its life and being ; who, descending 
fanto body, and putting on flesh, took the appearance of a 
man, though even then he gave proof of the majesty of his 
nature; nay,aDd after his dissolution,he was deified again."* 

This is the language of one, of whom there is not the 
least pretence to show that he was a believer of the 

• Kcu eros apa tfy o \aryos, luA'w cwi oma ra yipo/iwa ty^ptro, ws Vf Ktu 
« HfNucXciTor o^iMcrcic kcu n} SC, ov o 0ttp€epos a^ioi tr rris apxjis Ta(ci rt tern o^ia 
mtAwrniura irpos ^oif fO'Oi, 81 9 irayd^ tnrX»s yrfw^nv^tu w m ro ywvoiiwwf iw¥ 
Mu {ijr, lew w irf^vjctrai xoi mi (rvfurra mrrffti^, Kot cnptta wSv^a/AOfOv, fwrti- 
^9^ai a»hptatwWi firra kou tb n^iircRrra StuooMiy Tiff ^utattn ro iJLr}fuK*uw o^wAci km 
. m^oXfibwrra iraXiy oafo&wobou k<u b90¥ f imu, otos ffy iroo ro cts irof^ km r%i <ra«ca 
Mm roKf w^onrnm jrorax^u^at. — Eutei. pr^* BvtM, lio. zi* c. 19. CUamte Lmrd" 
uero, torn 4, p. 200. 


Grospel, or even if he had ever heard of it» that ha did aot 
reject it ; it was the language of clear, nndlsgniBed, and 
nnmingled Paganism. The Logos then, or Word, was a 
designation purely and exdusively appropriate to tilie 
Pagan mythology. 

The Valentinians, a sect of Christian heretics of the 
first century, approximated so closely to Paganism, as to 
respect and belieye a regular theogony,2holding, acoording 
to Cyrill, tibat Depth produced Silence, and upcm Silenee 
begat the Logos.* 



Was the god of good-cheer, wine, and hilarity ; and as 
such, the poets haire been eloquent in his praises. On all 
occasions of mirth and jollity, they constantly inroked 
his presence,t and as constandy thanked him for the 
blessings he bestowed. To him they ascribed the greatest 
happiness of which humanity is capable, — the forgetfulness 
of cares, and the delights of social intercourse. It has 
been usual for Christians invariably to represent this 
God as a sensual encourager of inebriation and excess ; 
and reason enough it must be admitted that they have, tar 
giving such a colouring to the matter ; since, only by so 
doing, could they conceal the resemblance which an im- 
partial observance would immediately discover betwera 
the PhcBnician Yesus, j; who taught mankind the cultvre 
of the vine, and so without a miracle changed their drink 
from mere water into wine, '' which cheereth God and num,** 
(Judges, ix. 13), and the Egyptian Jesus, who, by a 
manoeuvre upon half a dozen water-pots, was believed to 
have persuaded a company of intoxicated guests, that he 
had turned water into wine ; of which the narrator of the 
story, with a striking tone of sarcasm, remarks, ** This 
beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and 
manifested forth his glory ; and his disciples believed on 
him," (John ii. II). As much as to say, that his dis- 
ciples only would be the advocates of so egregious an 
imposture. '' He manifested forth his glory ;" that is, his 

* Bni>os rf^wnff^ ^79)v> ifoi oiro Ti|f S^Tiyi ctckvoitoici Aoyov. 

+ " Fur where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am 
I in the midst otthem." — Matt. xFiii. 20. 

X Yesus. — ^Voloe^ has shown that Yes was one of the names of Bacckin, 
which, with the Latin termination, is nothing else than Yesus, or Jetua. 


peculiar mythological character, as thb God op Wimb^ 
which was in like manner the peculiar characteristic of 

The real origin of the jnystical three letters I H S, sur- 
rounded with rays of glory, to this day retained even in 
our Protestant churches, and falsely supposed to stand for 
Jeius Hominum Salvator, is none other than the identical 
name of Bacchus — ^Ybs, exhibited in Greek letters^ YH2. 
-—See Hesychius on the word YH2, t. e. Ybs, Bacchus, 
Sol, the Sun. 

HHie well-paid apologists of this and all other absurdities 
that have obtained their translation from Pagan into 
CAuristian legends, in vain endeavour to blink the ob- 
scenity betrayed in their Greek text This miracle 
was not performed till all the witnesses of it were in the 
last stage of intoxication. *^ Every man at the beginning 
doih set forth good wine, and when men have well drum, theft, 
thai which is worse; but thou hast kept the good wine until 
now,^ is the remaik of the Architriclinus, or ruler of the 
feast, the only individual, perhaps, except those who con- 
tributed to the juggle, who could speak at all. '^ Hast kept 
tie f^odvnne until now ;" that is to say, '' Till now, that it 
is au over with them, and you see them sprawling under 
tfie table, or scarce knowing whether their heads or heels 
are uppermost'' The original text supports this sense, as 
the same will be found in the drunken odes of Anacreon : 
** To arms ! But I shall drink. Boy^ bring me the goblet ! 
foir J had rather lie dead drunk, than dead"* 

Nothing short of a debility of intellect produced by 
religious enthusiasm, similar to the sedative effects of 
frequently-repeated intoxication, could have hindered 
Christians from seeing the deep and pungent sarcasm on 
their religion involved in this drunken miracle, which 
a moment's rational reflection would expose. In any 
Mnse but that of an imposition preached upon men's 
senses, the miracle involves a physical impossibility, and 
% moral contradiction. In no idea that a rational mind 
can form of the power of God himself, can we conceive 
that he could make a thing to be and not to be, at the same 
time ; or so operate on the past, as to cause that to have 
been which really had not been. That fluid, therefore, 

* Ow\i^ rya» St nam TLaa wh p mm s irptrro^ rw KaKo¥ •iror 

^fp' cfiot jcvirf AAov w tcu ! rt^Jiat, Ktu orta^ fu^va^turi rort ra^ 

Mcl^voKra yap fic iccur&at fAflOVW. 

n^kSu c^wror if ^^ayorrc 

jiimcreott. Si. Jmkm. 


whatever it was^ which had not been pressed out of Hhb 
grape^ — which had not been generated, concocted, ma- 
tured and exuded through the secretory ducts of the vine, 
drawn up by its roots out of the earth, circulated throngh 
its capillary tubes, and effunded into its fruit, could ndt 
be wine, nor could God himself make it to be so. 

** That were to make 
Strange contradiction, which to God himtelf 
ImpOMible &B held." MUiom. 

The more shrewd and political among those who pro&ss 
and call themselves Christians, have avowed themselves not 
a little ashamed of this miracle, have seen and recogniied 
its palpably Pagan character, and sighed, and wished that 
it were peacefully apocryphized out of its place in the 
sacred volume. 

Our only moral use of these Christian admissions shall 
be to remind our readers, for the advantage of some fur- 
ther stage of our argument, that we have here, in the veiy 
volume which has so long been pretended to contain 
'' truth without any mixture of error," an affair not only 
decidedly and unequivocally fabulous, but physically 
impossible ; and this re-edited under an apparatus m 
Christian names, and told with circumstances of time^ 
place and character — stet exempli gratia ! 

The Egyptian Bacchus was brought up at Nysa, and is 
famous as having been the conqueror of India. In Egypt 
he was called Osiris, in India Dionysius, and not impro- 
bably Chrishna, as he was called Adoneus, which signifies 
the Lord of Heaven, or the Lord and Giver of light, 
in Arabia ; and Liber, throughout the Roman dominions, 
from whence is derived our term liberal, for every thing 
that is generous, frank, and amiable. 

Though egregiously scandalized by the modems> as all 
the Pagan divinities are, where Christians are the carvers, 
he was far otherwise understood by the ancients. The 
intention of his imagined presence at the festive board 
was to restrain and prevent, and not to authorize excess. 
His discipline prescribed the roost strict sobriety, and 
the most rationsil and guarded temperance in the use of 
his best gift to man, which wisely used, exalts as much out 
moral as it does our physical energies, endears man to 
man, gives vigour to his understanding, life to his wit, 
and inspiration to his discourse. Bacchus was, in the 
strictest and fairest sense of the word, a pure and holy 

BA0CHU8. 180 

md; he. was deity rendered amiable. He is called by 
CUnace in general the modest Grod, the decent Gtod. The 
finest mond of his allegorical existence is, that he was 
never to be seen in company with Mars ; so that he had 
jnster claims than any other to be designated ** the 
Prince of Peace" Orpheus^* however, directly states that 
Bacchus was a lawgiver, csJls him Moses, and attributes 
to him the two tables of the law.f It is well known, 
however, that his characteristic attribute was immortal 
boyhood ; and since it is admitted that no real Bacchus 
ever' existed, but that he was only a mask or figure of 
some concealed truth, (see Horace's inimitable ode to 
this deitv,) there can be no danger of our dropping the 
cine of his allegorical identification, in winding it through 
aD the mazes of his vocabulary of names, and aU the 
multifarious personifications of the same primordial idea. 

But the most striking circumstance of this particular 
emblem of the Sun is, that in all the ancient forms of 
invocation to the Suprems Being, we find the very 
identical expressions appropriated to the worship of 
Bacchus ; such as, lo Terombe ! — Let tu cry unto the Lord! 
lo! or lo Baccoth ! — Gody see our tears! Jehovah Eyan ! 
Hevoe! and Eloah! — Tlie Author of our existence, the 
mighty God! Hu Esh!— TAou art the fire! and Elta 
Esh ! — Thou art the life ! and lo Nissi ! — (J Lord, direct us ! 
which last is the literal English of the Latin motto in the 
anns of the City of London retained to this day, '' Domine 
Urige no$J* The Romans, out of all these terms, preferred 
the name of Baccoth, of which they composed Bacchus. 
The more delicate ear of the Greeks was better pleased 
with the words lo Nissi, out of which they formed 

That it was none other than the Sun which the Jews 
themselves understood to be meant, and actually wor- 
shipped, under his characteristic epithet of The Lord, 
see '^ confirmation strong as proof of holy writ" in die 
Jewish general's address to the Sun : — 

^ Then spake Joshua to the Lord, and said. Sun, stand 
tkau Ml upon GibeonI So the Sun stood still in the midst 

* Orpbens, who for the mott part in followed by Homer, was tbe mat intro- 

dvcer of tbe' rites of the heathen worship among the Greeks, being charged witii 

r htmam inreated the rery names of the gods. He wrote, that all things were 

made by One ChdkemdwUk three tutmee, and that this Qedit aUtking9*^Heknm 

Lexieem, 947. 

t Baccbnm, Oqihens Tocat /wffTfr hoc est Moses et $f<rfto^opov — Legislatorem,. 
#t oidem tribnit h/wXatcm ^etrfMor quasi dnplices legis Ubulas. — Pomey, Pantk^ 
Hpikiemm, p. 57. 


of heaven. Atid there was no day Hhe thai, before ii or after 
tt, that THE Lord hearkened tmto the voice of a manj* — 
Joshua X. 12, 13, 14. 

The Bacchanalia^ or religious feasts in honou of 
Bacchus, were celebrated with much solemnity, and with 
a fervent and impassioned piety, among the ancients, 
particularly the Athenians, who, till the commencement 
of the Olympiads, even computed their years from them, 
dating all transactions and events, as Christiana have 
since done, with an Anno Domini, in the year of our Lord. 
The Bacchanalia are sometimes called Orgies, from the 
transport and enthusiasm with which they were cele- 
brated. The form and disposition of the solemnity de- 
pended at Athens on the appointment of the supreme 
magistrate, and was at first extremely simple; but by 
degrees, it became encumbered with abundance of .eere- 
monies, and attended with a world of dissoluteness and 
excess, probably competing in enormity and indecency 
with a Christian carnival : so that the Pagan ILonuuu, 
who had adopted the orgies, were afterward ashamed of 
the exhibition, and suppressed them throughout Italy, by 
a decree of the Senate. 

The orgies celebrated originally to the honour of Bac- 
chus, are still continued in honour of the same deity, 
under another epithet; as may be observed by any 
person who should choose to waste an hour in attending 
the revival meetings of the wilder orders of Chrieiian 
Methodists — the Dunkers, Jumpers, &c. and all who pie- 
tend to a more spiritual and primitive Christianity. The 
hysterical young women, sighing, moaning, 

** Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting, 
Poaaessed bejrond the muae a painting/* 

under the impressions which our evangelical fanatics 
endeavour to produce on their imaginations, are the very 
antitypes of the frantic priestesses of Bacchus. Nor can 
any man doubt, that if the advance of civilizatioi^ and 
the improved reason of mankind, did not stand in bar of 
such excesses, the state of mind called 8anctifi€ation,^hidk 
our clergy aim to render as general as they can, would 
continue as evangelized Bacchanalia to this day. 

In the ancient Orphic verses sung in the orgies of Bac- 
chus, as celebrated throughout Egypt, Phoenicia, Sjrria, 
Arabia, Asia Minor, Greece, and ultimately in Italy, it 
was related how that God, who had been bom in Arabia, 
was picked up in a box that floated on the water, and 


took his name Muet, in signification of bis having been 
*' saved firom the waters/'* and Bimater, from his having 
had two mothers ;t that is^ one by nature, and another 
who had adopted him. He had a rod with which he 
performed miracles, and which he conld change into a 
serpent at pleasure. Ue passed the Red Sea dry-shod, 
at the head of his army. He divided the waters of the 
rivers Orontes and Hydaspus, by the touch of his rod, and 
passed through them dry-shod. By the same mighty 
wand, he drew water from the rock ; and wherever he 
marched, the land flowed with wine, milk, and honey." 

The Indian nations were believed to have been entirely 
involved in darkness till the light of Bacchus shone on 

Homer relates, how in a wrestling match with Pallas, 
Bacchns yielded the victory ;$ and Pausanias, that when 
tli^ Greeks had taken Troy, they found a box which con- 
tained an image of this god, which Eurypilus having pre- 
sumptuously ventured to look into, was immediately 
smitten with madness. § Why should we further prose- 
cute this laborious idleness? Demonstration can call for 
no more. Every part of the Old Testament, from first to 
last, is Pagan : not so much as one single line, containing 
or conveying the vestige of any idea or conceit whatever, 
find we in God's temple, but what will fit back again and 
dove-tail into its original niche in the walls of the Pan- 
theon. — Compare the Chapter on the State of the Jews, in 
this DiBOBSis. 



Tflis was a deity who united the divine and human 
Mitare in one person, and was confessedly '' both God and 
muai* — ** perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable 
soul and human flesh subsisting ; equal to the father as 
touching his godhead, but inferior to the father as touch- 
ing his manbood : who, although he was Grod and man, 
yet was he not two, but one Prometheus ; one, not by 
ooaversion of the godhead into flesh, but by tsiking the 
Hanhood into Grod ; one altogether, not by confusion of 
substance, but by unity of person : for as the reasonable 

• Trom rWD '* ^"""^ <^' or forth, — " Because she said, TTT/l^tt^D""^ «''■««' 
kirn Mtf.**— Exod. ». 10. 

^ Aif n n w B acchi cognomcii. X Hiad, 48. ^ IiiAelttfii. 


soal and flesh is one man, so Grod and man is one I'lone* 
theos : who, for us men, and for our salvation, came down 
from heaven* and was incarnate, and was made man, and 
was cmcified also for ns, under porcb and strbnoth; 
he suffered, and descended into hell, rose i^^n from the 
dead, he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right 
hand of the Father, God Almighty." 

Thus far the Pagan and the Christian credenda ran hand 
in hand together; and it is a more than striking coin- 
cidence, that the name Prometheus should be directly 
synonymous with the Logos, or Word of God, an epithet 
applied by St. John to the God and man, or demi-deity of 
the Gospel, from vpo, before-hand, and fiiiSoct care, or counsel: 
hence directly signifying the Christian deity, Providbncb, 
which we see emblemized as an eye surrounded with rays 
of glory, and casting its beams of light upon the affairs of 
our world. Indeed, under this designation, he continues 
to this day a more fashionable deity than the Logos of 
St. John. We find acknowledgments of dependence on 
Divine Providence, and the blessing of Providence, of 
Prometheus, spoken of in our British parliament, occur- 
ring in his majesty's speeches, and received with the 
most respectful sentiment from one end of the kingdom to 
the other, where the introduction of the name of Jesus 
Christ, in the place of that of Prometheus or Providence, 
would be received with an universal smirk of undisguised 

The best information of the character, attributes, and 
actions of this deity, is to be derived from the beautiful 
tragedy of Ilpoficdcvc d^t<rfii»yn\q, or Prometlieus Bound, of 
iEschylus,* which was acted in the theatre of Athens, 
500 years before the Christian era, and is by many con- 
sidered to be the most ancient dramatic poem now in 
existence. The plot was derived from materials even at 
that time of an in6nitely remote antiquity. Nothing was 
ever so exquisitely calculated to work upon the feelings 
of the spectator. No author ever displayed greater 
powers of poetry, with equal strength of judgment, in 
supporting through the piece the august character of the 
divine sufferer. The spectators themselves were incon« 
sciously made a party to the interest of the scene : its 
hero was their friend, their benefactor, their creator, and 
their saviour ; his wrongs were incurred in their quarrel— 
his sorrows were endured for their salvation ; '' he was 
wounded for their transgressions, and bruised for ^eir 

* Or Potter*! bMutiful tmnilation of it, of which I here arail inyBelf. 


iniquities; the chastisement of their peace was npon him, 
and by his stripes they were healed/' (Isaiah liii. 5). 
** He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he opened not his 
month.'' The majesty of his silence, whilst the ministers 
of an offended Gtod were nailing him by the hands and 
feet to Mount Cancasns, could be only equalled by the 
modesty with whidi he relates, while hanging on the cross,* 
his services to the human race, which had brought on him 
that horrible crucifixion : — v 

" I will spedc. 
Not as aptinddin; theniy bat my own gifts 
Commendiiig. Twas I who broagrht iweet hope 
T* inhtbit in their hearts— I brought 
The Are of heaven to animate their clay : 
And throogh the ckmds of barbarons ignoranee 
Diffused the beams of knowledge. In a word* 
Prometheus taught each useful art to man." 

In answer to a call made on him^ to explain how his 
philanthropy could have incurred such a terrible punish- 
ment, he proceeds : — 

'* See what, a god, I suffer from the gods ! 
For mercy to mankind, I am not deemed 
Worthy of mercy ; but in this uncouth 
Appointment, am fixed here, 
A spectacle dishonourable to Jore 1 
On the throne of heaven scarce was he seated^ 
On tlic powers of heaven 
He showered his various benefits, thereby 
Confirming his sovereignty ; but for unhappy mortals 
Had no regard, but all the present race 
Willed to extirpate, and to form a new. 
None, save myself , opposed his will. I dared, 
And boldly pleading, saved them from destruction- 
Saved them from sinking to the realms of night ; 
For which offience, I bow beneath these pains. 
Dreadful to suffer, piteous to behold !" 

In the catastrophe of the plot, bis especially professed 
friend, Ockanus, the Fisherman, as his name Petraeus 
indicates, (Pbtrjsus was an interchangeable sjrnonyme 
of the name Oceanus,) being unable to prevail on him to 
make his peace \vith Jupiter, by throwing the cause of 
human redemption out of his hancls,t ** forsook him and 

* Hie cross referring to the attitude of the suffierer, Prometheus may be 
called MrrtKupooftm^os, or wttncoKofwuryuiifoSf as well as JeSus. 

t '* Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying. Be it far from 
t]Me,Lord: tUi ahaU not be vnto thee.*'-^Matl. ztL SS. 



fled." None remained to be witnesses of his dying 
agonies, bat the ohorus of eyer-amiable and ever-fiumn! 
women which also bewailed and lamented him, (Lake 
xxiii. 27,) but were nnable to subdue his inflexiblo phi- 
lanthropy. Overcome at length, by the intensity oT his 
pains, be curses Jupiter in language hardly different in 
terms, and but little inferior in sublimity to the '^Elaij Ebi, 
lama $abacthanir of the Gk>speL And immediately the 
whole frame of nature became convulsed : the earth snook, 
the rocks rent, the graves were opened ; and in a stocm 
that seemed to threaten the dissolution of the universe, the 
curtain fell on tike sublimest scene ever presented to the 
contemplation of the human eye — a Dyino God! Hie 
Christian muse has inspired our modem poets with no 
strains on this theme, but such as bear the character of 
plagiarism, parody, or paraphrase on the Greek tragedy. 
A worshipper of iSrometheus v^uld look in vain throuj^ 
all our collections of sacred poetry for a single idea vriddi 
his own forms of piety had not suggested, or a sini^ 
phrase whose reference would not seem to him, to have 
as direct an application to the god-man of .^schylus, as 
to the Jesus of the Evangelists : 

" Lo, streaming from the fktal tree. 

His all-atoniDg blood I 
Is this the Infinite ? Tb be— 

Prometheus, and a God ! 
Well might the sun in darkness hide. 

And Teil his glories in. 
When God» the great Promethensi died. 

For man, the creature's tan," 

The preternatural darkness which attended the crud- 
fibcion of Prometheus, was natural enough as exhibited 
on the stage, and is beautifully described in the language 
of the tragedy. Nor is there any difficulty in conceiving, 
that when the mighty effect of so deep a tragedy on the 
feelings and sentiments of the audience, became an inex- 
haustible source of wealth to the performers, there would 
be found those who would be shrewd enough to discover 
the policy of enhancing and perpetuating so profitidile an 
impression on the vulgar mind, by maintaining that there 
was much more than a mere show in the business ; diat 
it was an exhibition of circumstances that had really 
happened ; that Prometheus was a real personage, and 
had actually done, and suffered, and spoken as in so 
lively a manner had been set before them; that tbo tragedy 

psoimiiEus. 1S5 

urns a gospel put info metre ; and tbat BOthing but ** am 
Hfii heart cf tmbeKef** coold induce any man to doubt 
** the certainty of thcSie things wherein he had been instructed*' 
it is probably no more than a flgnre of speech, though cer- 
ttlnly Tery injudiciously chosen, in which Origen calls 
file cruci^on of Christ tlie most awful tragedy that was 
fffwr acted.* 

But the pretence of the reality of the event would break 
^h»n, in the judgment of the better«infonned, from th^ 
totel want of evidence to support that part of the detail, 
^ich, had it been real, could npt have wanted the clearest 
rind most constraining demonstration. The darkness 
IVhich closed the scene on the suffering Prometheus, was 
Msfly exhibited on the stage, by putting out the lamps ; 
tmt when the tragedy was to become history, and the fiction 
to be turned into fact, the lamp of day could not be so 
easily disposed of. Nor can it be denied that the mira- 
etffoiM darkness which the Evangelists so solemnly declare 
to have attended the crucifixion of Christ, labours under 
]Mpecisely the same fttality of an absolute and total want 
<if evidence. 

Gibbon, in his usual strain of sarcasm and irony, keenly 
asks, '^ How shall we excuse the supine inattention of 
fbe pagan and philosophic world to those evidences which 
were presented by the hand of Omnipotence, not to their 
reason, but to their senses? This miraculous event, which 
ought to have excited the wonder, the curiosity, and the 
devotion of mankind, passed Mrithout notice in an age of 
science and history. It happened during the lifetime 
of Seneca and the elder Pliny, who must have experienced 
the immediate effects, or received the earliest intelligence 
of the prodigy. Each of these philosophers, in a laborious 
woriL, has recorded all the great phsenomena of nature-— 
earthquakes, meteors, comets, and eclipses, which his 
indefatigable curiosity could collect; both the one and 
the other have omitted to mention the greatest ph»no* 
■lenon to which the mortal e^e has been witness since 
llm creation of the globe/' — GMon, vol. 2, ch. 15, p. 379. 

This objection of Gibbon is answered by Bishop Wat- 

* His answer to Cclius, chapter 27. What other than thk is the sense of 
words of the apoetolic chief of sinners, " O foolish Galatians, who halfa 

knriicMed you, that ye shouM not obey the truth, bef&rc wkMe eyet Jeiw 
Christ hath heen eridently set forth crucified among j'ou ?"— Gal. iii. i . Sarelv, 
ii WM Mt in the conntry of the Gatatinns that Cbxist was crucified; nor ceold 
In hart been set fcHrth before thefa* eyes, and eMmily^ otherwise than by « 
pictnre, or in a theatrieal representation ! 

o 2 

196 PROMBTHem. 

8on^ in a doubU^tntendre paragraph, which opens with tho 
curious word to the wise, that ** tiioogh he was aware he 
was liable to be misunderstood in what he was ^i^g to 
say, yet Mr. Gibbon would not misunderstand him.'' Taea 
foUows the most extraordinary declaration of his owiiy 
(a bishop's) faith, ** that however mysterious the darit* 
ness at the crucifixion might have been, he had no doubt 
the power of Grod was a$ much concerned in its production, 
as it was in the opening of the graves, and the resurrection 
of the dead bodies of the saints that slept, which accom- 
panied that darkness." — Third Letter to GMon, loMtpanr 
graph. Another way of sajfing, that every sensible man 
must perceive that one part of the story was just as pio* 
bable as the other, or that it was a romance altc^ther. 
The good Bishop ventured to trust his security to the 
well-proved truth of the adage, ** None are so blind as 
those who will tiot see/' 

The immoral and mischievous tendency of the doctrine 
of atonement for sin, so acceptable to guilty minds, and is 
eagerly embraced by the greatest monsters of iniquity, had 
been preached by self-interested priests, and reprobated 
by all who wished well to mankind, long before that doc- 
trine was deduced from the Christian Scriptures, long be- 
fore those Scriptures are pretended to have been written. 

Before the period assigned to the birth of Christ, the 
poet Ovid had assailed the demoralizing delusion with the 
most powerful shafts of philosophic scorn : 

** Cum sb ipse nocent, moritar cur yictiiiu pro te ? 
Stultitia est morte ftltorius iperare salutem." 

" Wketi thou thyself art guilty ^ why should a victim die for 
thee ? What folly is it to expect salvation from the death rf 

No particle of difficulty remains, then, in accounting for 
the fact, that in that portion of the Acts of the Apostles in 
which the miraculous style is discontinued, and we so 
clearly trace the probable and most likely reaJ adventures 
or journal of a missionary sent out from the college of the 
Eg^tian Therapeuts joined on as an appendix to some 
^gment of their sacred legends which detailed the mys* 
tical adventures of the supposed first founders of their 
order, whose example the missionary was to have con- 
tinually before him*, — we should read, that when the 

This appendix commences in the 13th chapter, where we find Sanl in tke 
lion at Antioch. and preaching again, one of the sermons which had btan 

Mmc ascribed to Peter. 


PR0MBTHBU8. 117 

«po6Udi€ Therapeat attempted to preach his doctrine of 
^ Jetui Chrisi ami him crucijied," at Athens, he found that 
the Athenians were already in possession of all he had to 
oommunicate, and that what he was endeavouring to set 
off as a doctrine newly revealed, was with them a very old 
alory. He brought to their ears '^ no new thing/** The 
S^Mcnrean and Stoical philosophers were more at home 
than himself upon that subject, and called him *' a babbler j* 
the very term that most expressively designates the cha- 
racter of a doting ignoramus, who, in the arrogance of his 
own conceit, will be for ever foisting up old stories of a 
hundred thousand years standing, and swearing that they 
had occurred in his own experience, and had happened to 
nobody else but some particular acquaintances of his. 

The majority, however, carried me vote that he should 
have a £Eur hearing, and Paul was allowed to preach in the 
Areopagus. The previous rebuke he bad received had 
completely subdued his impertinence; he no more pre- 
sumed to lay claim to originality in the crucifying story* 
He preached purb Deism, quoted their own poets, and 
ventured not once so much as to name his Jesus, or to 
make an allusion that could be construed as referring to 
him rather than to any other of the god-men or man-gods 
who had risen from the dead as well as he (Acts xvii). 

Prombtheus, exactly answering to the Christian per- 
sonification Providbngb, is, like that personification, 
used sometimes as an epithet synonymous with the 
Supreme Deity himself. The Pagan phrase, ** Thank Pro^ 
metheus*' like the Christian one, '' Thank Providence," its 
literal interpretation, meant exactly the same as " ThatJc 
Godr Thus in The Orphic Hymn to Chronus or Saturn,t 
we have this sublime address to the Supreme Deity under 
hianame Prometheus, " Illustrious, cherishing Father, both 
of the immortal gods and of men, various of counsel, j: spot- 

• Acts xvii. 18. 

"f See the original in EBcheobachins'sedit. p. 1 10. Compare also mj learned 
and amiable friend's edition in original Greek inscription type», cast at hb ovrn 

. t The three similar epitheU, " Varioua «f MHitire/,*' ** Vmriont in dttign," 
** Tartuous in eimntel" wonXd Justify the.doctrine, that the whole Trinity was 
omiprehended in this **" Progaetheoa the power of God, and Prometheus the 
wisdom of God.*' (I Cor. i. 24.) « His name shall be called, Wonderfol 
CcNUisellor» The mighty God.'* (Isa.ix.6.) Lactantius admits, that though 
what the poets delivered concerning the creation of man was corrupted, it was 
DOC differait in effect from the truth as held by Christians ; for in that they 
iMre aaserted that man was created out of clay by Prometheus, they were not 
wrong as to the fact, but only as to the name of the Creator.— ^oc/oiU. Imlit^ 
Kb. H. e. 10.— iTorfAolfo Pagano Obirecimlore, CUunte p. 34. 


jr THuiyiriio coDsiiBiest all thiugB, mmi 
them, who holdest the inelfiibk 
dHRJviiMit the honndless world ; thoa uniTenal 
pBRBi «>c ^orcMHTe being, Tarioas in design, fhictifier ef 
tkt eacdi and ^ the starry heaven, drbad Promsthbus, 
vte dipeilest im all parts of the world, author of generatioa, 
in cMUseiU aiost excellent, hear ovr aaj^Uavl 
of our life a happy blameless end." Amehl 


THa jn ti * wa» auf jhi|Nwii as a cod by the inhabitants 

j4 jie c^HUKznf^ tinttlned hy its inundations, before aJl 

-^:tmt»«M vtDMB 'iinaiAMK w'vtiiMiSw Plmto, who flourished 

jaej^ v^toff^' 3^ufv 'htf drtsctiiui era. records, that the Egyp- 

«Ait '3CM.*«c» tiid wtncM <>at ti> him on their pyramids the 

s¥iift«>oa«.^ ^iHrmrfy tihu.-* of a nf&noa which had existed in 

!Mttai«rr«i|H«>J vMtflliidoxy uwoc them for vpwards of ten 

fli^^^i^^dUMi ^tMTs.. %or has the prwress of Christianity or 

c«viUBi%iK>tt» ^^^^^ ^ diis day. enmeiy abolished the rdi- 

•HHiiai' >Miottr» 'MiKt w th» killer of streams. The priests 

Titelra *.iK* wiiattr^ :90ll ::hink that they ^ sanctify its 

^«<«iv«> M ft*^ nvsiteu «:«hmir iway of sin," by throwing 

«i4^» c m;«m\* X'MS' jt simK iMts iH a .TtMv ; as in onr own 

.i^Ht«4M^ sftx%K^ til rile v*him.-h of England at this day, 

.•K* HH.«^ x^HvvHis 'Us ^<tmi ^>v«r die font, and nses the 

^^hU^^ ' NUiKMiv :his vtawr to the mystical washing 

^%«,^% vu Nii« . ^i^ uK'tt s^Mvtkun&r the water so sanctified 

,41 >. ftK ^ «^&u "^ ta\v« jUKi uMkittic the sisn of the cross upon 

lUi i\H%*V«4u, W 4uu»» ** ^ e vio si^ him with the sign of 

\ MS xl\;\ .>y rns OltOsS? INTIRSLY PAGAN. 

|iK Vs> ici^iK^ Xliuttctasj. Kdix in his Octavins, written 
vx X Ai«> vx iV ^vw '^H. atoli^oaady resents the sapposi- 
t4v*** iM' »^ >*«i« ^ -^ ^'^'•^ should be considered as ex- 
. ;wv\s;\ i vhft^'^'^u* x>ttit)ol ; jLud ryprea»ents his advocate 
xv4 vU> v^XikVK^t .4«\uuKtft^ Jk^ retorting on an infidel oppo- 
%^>M^i Vx i\H whv' .«%kMHUOtt 01 cnk$&$es, which you object 
^ynnj^ mi« k Mue^i (vU >\hi> that we neither adore crosses 

TiiB aiON OP THB 0R088. 160 

dewe thetti; you it is, ye PaganSf who Wi 
wooden gods, who are the most likely people to adoia 
wooden crosses^ as being, parts of the same substance 
with your deities. For what else are your ensigns, ^m&3 
and standards, but crosses gilt and beautified. Your 
^notorious trophies not only represent a simple cross, but 
across with a man upon it. The sign of a cross naturally 
appears in a ship, either when she is under sail, or rowed 
with expanded oars like the palm of our hands. Not a 
jngum erected but exhibits the sign of a cross ; and when 
a pure worshipper adores the true GU)d, with hands ex- 
tended, he makes the same figure. Thus you see that the 
sign of the cross has either some foundation in nature, or 
in your own rdigion, and therefore ought not to be objected 
against Christians."* 

Meagher, a Popish priest, who came over from the 
Roman Catholic communion, and attached himself (for 
what reasons, or with what motives, must rest with Mm- 
self alone) to the ministry of the church of England, fur- 
nishes us with a most satisfactory prototsrpe of what he 
had come at last to consider as a corrupt Christianity, in 
the idolatrous worship of the Nile. The ignorant grati- 
tmde of a superstitious people, while they adored the river 
on whose inundations the fertility of their provinces de^ 
pended, could not fail of attaching notions of sanctity 
and holiness to the posts that were erected along its 
course, and which, by a transverse beam, indicated the height 
to which, at the spot where the beam was fixed, the waters 
saight be expected to rise. This cross at once warned the 
tcavdler to secure his safety, and f(Hmed a standard of 
the value of the land. Other rivers may add to the fertility 
cf the country through which they pass, but the Nile is the 
absolute cause of that great fertility of the Lower Egypt, 
which would be all a desert, as bad as the most sandy 
parts of Africa, without this river. It supplies it both 
with soil and moisture, and was therefore gratefully ad- 
dressed, not merely as an ordinary river-god, but by its 
express title of the Egyptian Jupiter. The crosses, there- 
fore, along the banks of the river, would naturally share 
in the honours of the stream, and be the most expressive 
emblem of good fortune, peace, and plenty. The two 
ideas could never be separated : the fertilizing flood was 

* Reere'f Apologies of the Fathen, &c. rol. 1, p. 139. This Rerwend Mr. 
it Qiiqiiettiooable authority for the text of the orthodox Fathen; iq 

wUch he conld not be wrong. We maT be alloired howerer to question bi» 
a«llKNrity, where he would penude na Oat, mU tke kenHet ait ekUdrtm. 


the waiers of life^ thai conveyed every Ueasuig, and ei 
existence itself^ to the proyinces through which they 

One other and most obvious hieroglyph completed the 
expressive allegory : The Demon qf' Famine j who, should 
the waters fail of their inundaticm, or not reach the eleva- 
tion indicated by the position of the transverse beam 
upon the upright, would reign in all his horrors over their 
desolated lands. This symbolical personification was^ 
therefore, represented as a miserable emaciated wreti^ 
who had grown up *' as a tender plant, and as a root eat 
of a dry ground, who bad no form nor comeliness; and 
when they should see him, there was no beauty that they 
should desire him.'' Meagre were his looks ; sharp misery 
had worn him to the bone. His crown of thorns indicated 
the sterility of the territories over which he reigned. The 
reed in his hand, gathered from the banks of the Nile, indi- 
cated, that it was only the mighty river, by keeping within 
its banks, and thus withholding its wonted munificence^ 
that placed an unreal sceptre in his gripe. He was nailed 
to the cross, in indication of his entire defeat ; and the 
superscription of his infamous title, ^' This is the kimo 
OP THE Jews," expressively indicated, that Famine^ WmM^ 
or Poverty, ruled the destinies of the most slavish, beg- 
garly, and mean-spirited race of men with whom they had 
Uie honour of being acquainted. 

Madame Dacier, in her edition of Plato, quotes autho- 
rities in proof that, when Plato visited Egypt, the priests 
showed him the symbols of a religion which, they alleged, 
had continued in observance among their ancestors fiH 
upwards of ten thousand years. 

From the way in which it was apparent to M. Dapnis^ 
that the mythologies and astronomical allegories of the 
ancients were connected with the periodical return of the 
seasons, he was induced to suppose that they must have 
originated in Egjrpt, where the annual inundation or 
deluge was marked in so peculiar a manner; and all 
ecclesiastical indications, it must be admitted, point to 
Egypt, as the birth-place and cradle of Religion. But it 
has happened not to occur to the reflections of M. Dupnis, 
nor to ecclesiastical writers, that with the variation of a 
few weeks only, the Ganges and the Indus produce pre- 
cisely similar phenomena to those of the Nile. And it 
18 in a very peculiar manner worthy of consideration, that 
a colony from India arriving in Egypt, so far from finding 


their oountry's superstition discouraged by dissimilarity 
of circumstances, would find erery circumstance offseason 
and climate favourable to it, tending to recall the same 
associations of idea, and to sanctify the same absurdities 
of practice. 

The most learned antiquaries agree in holding it un- 
questionable that Egypt was colonised from India. It 
loceived one of the earliest swarms of emigrants from the 
Bactrian hive. And thus, even if we had not the proof 
we have yet to adduce, of the* actual importation by the 
monks of Alexandria, would the superstitions of India 
get footing in Egypt ; the Chrishna of the Ganges would 
become the Christ of the Nile ; and the priests be left to 
no better expedient to disguise the real origin of their 
allegorical figment, than by transporting him again to the 
Iwnks of the Jordan. The first draft of the mystical 
adventures of Chrishna, as brought from India into Egypt, 
was Thb Diegesis; the first version of the Diegesis was 
the Gospel according to the Egyptians; the first 
renderings out of the language of Egypt into that of 
Greece, for the purpose of imposing on the nations of 
Europe, were the apocryphal gospels ; the corrected, casti- 
gated, and authorised versions of these apocryphal com- 
pilations were the gospels of our four evangelists. 

•It should never be forgotten, that the si^ of the cross, 
for ages anterior to the Augustan era, was in common use 
among the Gentiles. It was the most sacred symbol of 
Egyptian idolatry. It is on most of the Egyptian obe- 
lisks, and was believed to possess all the devil-expelling 
virtues which have since been ascribed to it by Chris- 
tians. The monogram, or symbol of the god Saturn, was 
the sign of the cross, together with a ram's horn, in 
indication of the Lamb of God. Jupiter also bore a cross 
with a horn, Venus a cross with a circle. The famous Cmr 
ansata is to be seen in all the buildings of Egypt ; and the 
most celebrated temples of the idol Chrishna in India, like 
our Gothic cathedrals, were built in the form of crosses. 

The sign of the cross is the very mark which in Ezekiel, 
ix. 4, the XiOrd commands his messenger to '' ^ through 
the midst of Jerusalem, and sit upon the foreheads of the men 
that sigh, and that cry for all the abominations that be done in 
the midst thereof But here, as in a thousand other 
places, our English rendering protestantizes, for the pur- 
pose of disguising the papistical sense, just as their 
immediate predecessors, the papists, had set them the 


example of chriitianizing whatever came in their way, ' fcr 
the purpose of concealing the Pagan origination. 

On a Phoenician medal found in the ruins of Gitiiim, 
and engraved in Dr. Clarke's Travels^ and proved by hifli 
to be Phoenician, are inscribed not only the cross, bat the 
losary, or string of beads, attached to it, together with 
the imntical Lamb of God, which iaketh away the tins tftti 

*^ How it came to pass/' says the pious Mr. SkeltOB, 
** that the Egyptians, Arabians, and Indians, before Christ 
came among us, paid a remarkable veneration to the sign 
of the cross, is to me unknown; but the fact itself is 
known. In some places this sign was given to men vrfao 
had been accused of crime, but acquitted upon trial ; eati 
in Egypt it stood for the signification of eternal lift." * 
O Clmstian revelation, what is it that thou hast f^vmledf 



But it is more than evidence of this character 
that summons our admiration in. the charge of Serofir 
dolatry, or the worship of the god Serapis, which was 
brought against the primitive Christians, by no vulgar 
accuser, no bigotted intolerant reviler, but by that philo- 
sopliic and truth-respecting witness, the emperor Adrian.f 
In a certain letter which he writes, while in the course of 
his travels, to the Consul Servianus, he states, that he 
found the worshippers of the god Serapis in that country 
distinguished by the name of Christians. '' Those/' he 
says, '' who worship Serapis, are Christians ; and those 
who are especially consecrated to Serapis, call themselves 
the bishops of Christ'' In relief of which charge, the 
learned Kortholt, from whose valuable work, the Paganus 
Obtrectator, I have taken this passage, pleads, and in- 
deed it might be so, that when this emperor was in Egypt, 
some of the Christians, actuated by fear, concealing their 
true religion for a season, might have held out an appear- 
ance of having embraced the superstition of the Pagans. 
Thus in the Ancient Martyrology, in the history of Epi- 

* Skelton'i Appeal to Common Sense, p. 45. 

t In Epistola quadam ad Servianum cos. Imperator Hadranto prodidit, 
oolnissa ipsos in JSLgfpto Serapidem, sire numen illud .£gyptiorum prscissum, 
qood tub bom specie eos fuisae Teneratos» nemo ignorat. lili ait qui Sermpm 
ceAml, Christiani sunt, et devoti aunt Scrapie qui «r CuRiSTi Epitcopot dicmmi. 
—KtrtkoM Pagan, Obtrect. de Serapidolairia, lib.S, c. 5, p.324.«See thia article 
SI IsDglb Ia the chapter that adduces the teitimonyof the empcnn- Adrian. 


ctarnuui, an EgypyfiaA martyr^ it is idated tbat idl the 
Chriatiang in Alexandria, npcm the coming of a crud 
j|idge> eitlier fled away, or pretended to be atili followeni 
of the Pagan impiety : and if the approach of a judge only 
QfMdd produce this effect, it is no wonder that the coming of 
tke emperor himsetf, and he, as they all knew, bemga most 
alrmuons asserter of the Grentile superstitions, dionM 
Jmve a siailiur effbct*. In Socmtes's History of Constan- 
tijM, he relates how that most holy emperor went about to 
pnesaote the Christian religion, and to banish the rites and 
oeienonies of Ihe filhnics, he setup his own image in their 
idolatrioal temples: and finding that there prevailed a 

Keral belief of the people of Egypt that it was the god 
Eipis who caused the river ^Ue to overflow and t&t-' 
tiiixe their country, in honour of which, a certain elle (the 
upright post with the transverse beam which had been 
used to measure the height and extent of the inundation) 
was annually brought with religious ceremonies into the 
temple of the god Serapis, the emperor commanded that 
ell to be brought into the church of Alexandria. Upon 
this profanation, the Egyptian people had wrought them<» 
selves up to the too-critical belief, that the Nile would 
cesent the indignity, and no more condescend to overflow 
hiB banks as usual ; thereby subjecting themselves to a 
sort of miracle, which was pretty safely promised them 
beforehand ; for, behold ! on the following year the river 
did not only overflow after his wonted manner, and from 
that time forth kept his course, (O most miraculous of all 
miracles !) but also did thereby declare unto the world 
that Nilus was accustomed to overflow, not after their 
snperstitious opinion, but by the secret determination of 
JMvine Providence.f 

Notwithstanding, however, this adoption of the Pagan 
^mbol of the cross into the Christian church, and die 
rapid propagation of Christianity, it was not till after the 
commencement of the fifth century, when the emperor 
Theodosius had given the exterminatory business, by com- 
mission, into the hands of Theophilus bishop of Alex- 
andria, that it was completed witii something like epis- 
copal vigour. '' By the procurement and industry of 
Theophilus the bishop, the emperor commanded that all 
the idol groves of the Ethnics within Alexandria should 
down to the ground, and that Theophilus should oversee 

* KorthoU in eodem loco. t Socrates SchoL lib. I, c. li. 


it. TheophilniB, being thus anthorised, omitted .notUng' 
that might tend to tiie reproach and contumely of hea- 
thenish ceremonies: down goes the temple of MithrB^ 
with all its idolatrical filth and superstition : down goes 
the god Serapis ; their embrued and bloody mysteries are 
pubficly derided ; their vain and ridiculous practices are 
publicly ridiculed in the open market-place, to their utter 
shame and ignominy/'* [ need not continue this hideous 
passage through the description which follows, and wae 
sure to follow, of the sanguinary horrors in which it issued. 
To deny that Christianity was and hath been the religiou 
of the sword from first to last, and hath been propagated 
and sustcuned by means of violence and fraud, and by 
no other means^ or to assert that there ever was on 
earth, or could have been any other religion that ever 
made its professors of all sorts and in all ages, one half iio 
savage, so bloody, and so wicked, is, as it were, to assert* 
any thing, to trample all evidence of fact and history 
under foot, to deny the existence of the sun, to deny that 
the jury who convicted the Rev. Robert Taylor of blas- 
pheming their Lord Jesus Christ '' by porgb and arms," 
were a perjured jury, to deny that there is any gaol at 
Oakham, any innocent man in that gaol, or truth in truth 




" In the temple of Serapis, now overthrown and rifled 
throughout, there were found engraven in the stones cer- 
tain letters which they call hieroglyphical ; the manner of 
their engraving resembled the form of the cross. The 
which, when both Christians and Ethnics beheld before 
them, every one applied them to his proper religion. The 
Christians affirmed that the cross was a sign or token of 
the passion of Christ, and the proper symbol of their pro- 
fession. The Ethnics avouched that therein was con- 
tained something in common, belonging as well to Serapis 
as to Christ; and that the sign of the cross signified one 
thing unto the Ethnics, and another to the Christians. 
While they contended thus about the meaning of these 
hieroglyphical letters,t many of the Ethnics became Chris- 

* Socrate3 Schol. lib. 6, c. 16. 
' t We tee at this dmy, without any countenance of Scripture, the letten 
LN JUL engraTed in all our idoiairical representations of the crucifixion. It is 
that they would bear any other reading as well as that which Christiaii 
ttayshre tbem. 

THE UQN OP THB 0R088. 906 

tiuns, for they percdved at length the sense and meaning 
of those letters, and that they prognosticated salvation, 
and LiFJt TO comb/'* 

This most important evidence of the utter indifference 
between Christianity and any, even the grossest forms of 
the ancient Paganism, is supplied by a Christian historian; 
und independent of its fairness, as taken from such a 
source, and its inherent verisimilitude, is corroborated by 
a parallel passage from the ecclesiastical history of Sozo- 
menes, who, about the year 443, wrote the history of the 
church from the reign oi Constantine the Great to that of 
the younger Theodosius. He is speaking of the temple of 
the god Serapisf — '^ It is reported that when this temple 
was destroyed, there appeared some of those characters 
called bieroglsrphics, surrounding the sim of the cross, in 
engraven stones ; and that, by the skilful in these matters, 
these hieroglyphics were held to have signified this inscrip- 
tion — THB LiPBTo comb! And this became a pretence 
for becoming Christians to many of the Grecians, because 
there were even other letters which signified this sacred 
end when this character appeared/' 

thus in every genuine historical document, we are con- 
tinually met by evidence of the superfluous prodigality of 
miracles, and that offence against the laws of the drama, 
as well as of historical probability, which makes a god ap- 
pear where there was no knot worthy of a god. The Pagans, 
so far from needing miracles to convert them, were at all 
times ready to embrace any new faith whatever : no trick 
could be too gross to fail of success on their easy credulity. 
They really had not the capacity of inflicting martyrdom ; 
tfiey were ready to be winked and whistled into Chrisr 
tianity. — Socrates continues his account : 

■ * Ey 8c ry ymp rov ScpcnriSof \voh9Pou, km yvfowtfuiwff lyvpifro ypofttutra tTitf- 
XPyoT^ra rots Xi^ois, r^ itttkoniiMf^ fpoyhv^m^. Hcror 8c m x<^«tTi|pfff (rravpur 
MX^avrts rvwovs, Tovrovs ofoirr§s Xpurriayoi re kcu EAXi}ycs> n} diuf cKarcpot 
'i^pilffKti^ rrfxxrripfxolovro Xpurrtayoi fitw yap <rriii*iov rov Kara Xpurrov a»rripuiSovs 
wtAovs ciycu XryoKTcs roy orovpoy, oiKtunf ciroi rov x^V^^iK^pci tvofugov, EAAsfrrt 
iff r< KoiMw Xptoru kcu "X^Mori SuKwov, ct o araufpo^ihis x<>P<>'t^P» <>^^ f^" 
JipurrtayoiSt aWo 8c EAAijo't voictroi to aviifioXoy* Tovrmv Sc oiufHfffitfrtvfiMnMff 
Tvcfy row EAAiTywK t« Tipurriayurfut vpoccA^orrcf , ra itpoyXv^Ka re ypofifmra 
tri0Ti^Mroi, ^tpftirpftvorrn rov aranpomiffi xapOKnipa* EXryov ffiuuui^tv gmiv 
Man^otiMTiiy — Socrai, EecL Hist, lib. 6, c. 17. 

t ^a/rt 8ff rov vaav Ka^oipovfianu rourov, rwa rmv KoKovfuvw X'V>'''"^)P**>'> 
aravpm in\ii9iM tfi^pfis, tyK^apayfiwois rois X^ois ewa^payijvat. Tlap nrumifio¥wv 
8ff ra roiaSt fpfirivtvSffiffav arifULvai raxmpf mv ypan^w ZXIHN EIIEPXOMENHN 
rotrro 8ff irpo^ainv Xptariavur/wu woXXois ywoa^ai rmv §X\ffinarctv: KO^ori koi 
ypofjLfiepra rrcpa rovro ro i§pw rcXof c^coriy ff8i^\ov> iiriica ovros o x^paXnip ^«Mf.— 
Lib. 3, cap. 16. 


^ The Cbristians perceiving that this made yeiy mudk 
for their religion, made great account thereof, and were 
not a little proud of it. When as by other hiero^ypUcal 
letters it was gathered, that the temple of Serapiis snould 
go to ruin when the sign of the cross therein engrayea 
came to light (by that lips to comi was foreshewedj^ 
many more embraced the Christian religion, confessed 
their sins, and were baptized. Thus much have I learned 
of the cross.''* — ^And thus far quote I from the Ecclesias- 
tical History of Socrates, a Christian historian, who lived 
and wrote about a.d. 412, the contemporary of Damasos 
bishop of Rome, of Chrysostom of Constantinople, and of 
the events which he has here recorded. Though the god 
Serapis stood in so immediate a relation to the Nile, his 
worship was by no means confined to Egypt ; he was wor^ 
shipped not only in Egypt and in Greece, but also at 
Rome, and sometimes considered as one and the same as 
Jupiter Ammon, sometimes as identical with Pluto, Bac- 
chus, .^sculapius, Osiris,t and Jesus Christ It is cer- 
tain, however, that his most magnificent temple vras at 
Alexandria in Egypt, whence all our most distinguished 
Christian Fathers and writers derived their education; 
that the bishops of Serapis, as they alone were justly en- 
tided to be called bishops of Alexandria, while Alexandria 
was a Pagan city, yet called themselves bishops of Christ ; 
and though Christianity can in no reasonable sense be 
said to have been established in Alexandria while the 
temple of Serapis remained — and Tillemont admits that 
the very first Christian church that was ever built, of which 
history gives us any certain and express information, was 
founded by Gregory the wonder-worker, a. d. 244, or idhsr 
that time:{:, — yet have we an uninterrupted succession of 
bi^ops of Alexandria from the evangelist Mark, who we 
are required to believe was the first of them, downwards. 
The Jews, it seems, took Serapis to be identical vrith 
the patriarch Joseph the son of Sarah.§ 

In all the representaticms of the crucified King of the 
Jews that have come down to us, the essential requisites 
of the Egyptian hieroglyphic have been most religiously 
preserved. The ribs of the figure are ahnost breaking 
through his skin, and it seems doubtful whether the being 

* Lfb. 5, e. 18, p. 348. LondoniEd. anno 1049. 
t Pomey De Diis Indiget, p. 268. 
i Quoted in Lardner*8 Credibility, rol. i, p> 694. 
S Quau Impas mr^. 


SO represented had died of hnngw before he was nailed to 
the cross^ or had expired under die inconveniences of that 
uncouth appointment But die most extraordinan^ phoe- 
momenon attending this mystical personilScation, is, that 
I|is hierogljrphical history will be found to dove-tail ex- 
actly into all the various and apparently contradictory 
developements of the Christian Geology. Thus ihe cross 
was blessed^ but the figure upon it was made a curse ; and 
accordingly, as it was the cross, or the crucified, that was 
referred to, so shall we find it, even in the same writings, 
qpoken of as the blessed cross or the accursed cross, as a 
badge of honour or of i^ame, of joy or of sorrow, of 
triumph or of humiliation. 



Wbrb expiatory sacrifices, which were renewed every 
twenty years, and conferred the highest degree of holiness 
and sanctification on the partakers of those holy mysteries. 
Prudentius informs us, that in these religious ceremonies 
the Pagan priests, or whoever was ambitious of obtaining 
a mystical rbgenbration, excavated a pit, into which 
lie descended. The pit was then covered over with 
planks, which were bored full of holes, so that the blood 
and what not of the goat, bull, or ram that was sacrificed 
non them, might trickle through the holes upon the body 
«f the person beneath; who, having been thus sanctified, 
and bom again, was obliged ever after to walk in newness of 
Ufe : to maintain a conduct of the most inflexible virtue ; 
to shew forth God^s praise, not only with his lips, but in his 
lift, by giving up htmself to GoJts service ; and by walhing 
hefhre him in holiness ana righteousness all his days. 

Potter, however, in his Antiquities, informs us, that the 
Attenians had a less offensive way than this to convey the 
spiritual blessedness of regeneration. The person desirous 
of it, whether male or female, was slipped through a cha- 
racteristic part of the female habiliments, and thenceforth 
recognized as one who had been bom again. The only ob- 
servable coincidence of the Tauriboua with the great 
sacrifice of Christianity, consists in the fact, that the 
grossest sense of the terms in which the Pagan obscenity 

206 DAPTI8M. 

can be described, finds its excuse, if not its sanctificatioa, 
by its adoption into the text of our New Testameat, 
where we read of *' the blood of' sprinkling, that speaheik 
hetter things than the blood of Abtl^' (Heb. xiL 24) ; and 
** SPRINKLING of the blood of Jesus Christ," (1 Pet. i. 2)u 
** And if the blood of bulls and goats, and the what-noi of 
an heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the 
purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of 
Christ purge your consciences." 

Thus precisely the same effects of an imaginary Apiri* 
(tual regeneration are ascribed to precisely the same tuutf 
ingredients — bloody 6^c. — ^used in precisely the same mode 
of application — sprinkling. It may be tiiat we, of more 
civiliased times, and more exalted ideas, have acquired the 
art of producing refined sweetsoutof these grossnesses; but 
we have no right to forget that our chemistry was entirely 
unknown to diose to whom this language was at first pro- 
pounded. They who were to be converted by it from 
their Paganism into the new religion, must have had 
the one put upon them in the place of the other, without 
their ever being able to perceive the difference. 



Th b Baptas,or Baptists, were an effeminate and debauched 
order of priests, belonging to the goddess Cotjrtto, the iiii- 
chaste Venus, in opposition and contradistinction to the 
celestial deity of that name, who was ever attended with 
the Graces, and whose worship tended to elevate and 
exalt the moral character, and to sanctify the commerce of 
generation with all that is delicate in sentiment and tendar 
in affection. No worshipper of Venus could endure the 
thought of impurity. Neglect of the holiness which her 
rites enjoined was ever punished with degradation of mind 
and loss of beauty and health.* The Baptists are satirised 
by Juvenal. They take their name from their stated dip- 
pings and washings, by way of purification, though it seems 

* The man after God's own heart exhibits himself as an awful instance of tiie 
vengeAnce of Venus on one who turned the grace of God (for Venus was ad* 
drtwed, '* Be thou God," or Goddess) into lascinousness : *' My wounds stink 
and are corrupt, through my lasciviousness ; neither is there any rest in my 
kmci, by reason of my sin." — Plsalm xxzyiii. 


BAPTI8T8. 900 

they were dipped in warm water, and were to be made 
clean and pure, that they might wallow and defile them- 
selves the more, as their nocturnal rites consisted chiefly 
oflasciyious dances and other abominations. The Bap- 
tists, or Anabaptists, as they are called, continue as an 
order of religionists among Christians, under precisely the 
same name. The licentious character of the order of reli^ 
gkmists from whom they are descended, has receiyed its 
correction from the improved intelligence, and, conse- 
quently, improved morality of the times. But the most 
onquestionable evidence confirms the fact, that the Chris- 
tian Baptists of Germanv, in the fourteenth century, and 
sometime before and aner, came short of no impurities 
that could have characterized the Antinomian priests of 


The character of John the Baptist, like all the other 
parsonages of the Gospel story, presents precisely the 
same analogy to the system of astronomy which we trace 
in every personification of the ancient heathenism. Lake 
all the other genii or saints, he presides over his particular 
day, or, rather, in mythological language, is that day ; and, 
as jf no room for doubt as to his identity should be left, the 
calendars attached to our church of England prayer-book 
have fixed that day as the 24th of June, the season pecu-> 
liady adapted to baptisms or bathings, precisely the dav on 
which the sun has exhibited one degree of descent from 
his highest elevation, and which stands directly over and 
looks down upon the 25th of December, the day fixed for 
the. birth of Christ, when he first appears to have gained 
one degree of ascent from his lowest declension. In exact 
accordance with which astronomical positions, we find 
the genius of the 24th of June (St. John) looking down 
upon the genius of the 25th of December (the netv bam 
Jesus), and saying, '' He must increase, but I must de- 
crease," (John iii. 30), as the days begin to leng^en from 
the 25th of December, and to decrease or riiorten from the 
24th of June downwards^ till they reach the shortest, of 
which the genius or saint is the unbelieving Thomas. 

The learned and ingenious historian of the Celtic 
Druids, of whose labours I have greatly availed myself, 
laaintcuns that ^' the Essenes were descended from the 
prophet Elijah, and the Carmelite monks from the Essenes^ 



idiose monasteries were established before the Chtisfiaii 
era; that these monks^ finding that from time immemorial,' 
a certain day had been held sacred to the god Sol, the Sum, 
as his birth-day, and that this god was distinguished byflie 
epithet Thb Lord, persuaded themselves that this Lord 
could be no other than their Lord God : whereupon they 
adopted the religious rites of this Lord, and his supposea 
birth-day, December the 25th, became a Christian festlTal, 
Paganism being thus spliced and amalgamated into 
Christianity." I only take the liberty of differing froiu 
this good Christian writer so far as to deny that fhrae 
could be any splicing or amalgamation, where it was off 
one piece- The great sophism of Christianity consists in 
the pretence of a distinction where there was no difference. 


Stands on the 21st of December, in all the darkness of un- 
belief, and doubting whether his divine master, the sun^ will 
ever rise again. In accordance with which astronomical 
sense, and in no other sense that divines can agree upon, 
we find Jesus, the genius of the Sun, in the 25th of Dee. 
telling the Pharisees, ^' Your father Abraham rejoiced to 
9ee my day, and he saw it, and was glad." (John viii. 08.) 
It was the evident object of the writers of the sacred alle- 
gory, as it was of the mystagogues and contrivers of the 
Pagan system, to give an appearance of real personages, 
and of actual adventures and discourses, to the prosopopeia, 
under which they emblemized physical and moral truths* 
So that it is only incidentally, and when they are somewhat 
off their guard, that they let fall expressions entirely out 
of keeping with their general tenor ; and furnish to a waiT 
observance, the key to the occult and real sense whico 
eludes, and was intended to elude the tractable sim- 
plicity of the faithful. At the same time, nothing is more 
obvious, than that the failure of invention, or fissures te 
the weaving of the allegory, would be from time to tiBM 
patched up with pieces of real circumstances, actual ad^ 
ventures, and indistinct reminiscences of conversatimiB 
that had indeed occurred ; till the fabricators themselves 
had become unable to distinguish what they had remem- 
bered from what they had invented. But who, but one 
who held it a virtue to be stupid, could drop the clue to 
the allegory put into his hand by such passages as 
(Eph. iv. 9), '^ Now that he ascended, what is it but that 

BAPT19TS. 311 

> descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 
; descended is the same also that ascended?" This 
into the lower parts of the earth, will apply to 
le of the actual burial of a man upon a level vnth 
ii's surface^ or not ten feet below it, but is strictly 
ble to the sun's descent below the horizon , by an 
I division of day and night, '' to give light to them 
VI darkness, and in the valley of the Modow of death.'* 
Pagan philosophers pretended that their theology, 
) genealogy of their gods, did originally, in an 
cal sense, mean the several parts of nature and the 
0. Cicero gives a large account of this, and tells us, 
m the impious fables relating to the deities include 
a good physical meaning. Thus, when Saturn was 
bave devoured his children, it was to be understood 
f which is properly said to devour aU things. '^ Wq 
says this great heathen, " that the shapes of all 
9, their age, habits, and ornaments, nay, their very 
gy, marriages, and every thing relating to them, 
)en delivered in the exact resemblance to human 
as. It is," he adds, '^ the height of foUy to be- 
ch absurd and extravagant things." 
jkj of them ever believe any thing more absurd ? 
annals of human folly or madness ever record any 
lore extravagant, than that new bom children 
be considered to have ofifended God, or that a full- 
bol should be believed to please him, by washing 
y hide, and suffering a gawky idiot to talk nonsense 
3 ceremony ? 

n allegorical sense was the ap<^ogy offered for 
liiest absurdities of Paganism, and an allegorical 
s challenged for the contents of the New Testa* 
ot only by the early Fathers, but by and in the text 
New Testament itself,* can it be denied that both 
re allegorical? And both being confessedly alle- 
. the innumerable instances of perfect resemblance 
A them are a competent proof that the one is but a 
ation or improved edition of the other, and that 
ever was any real or essential difference between 

r tuffidency is of God, who also hath made ua able minitten of the 
iment, not of the letter, Imt of the spirit ; for the letter killeth, but 
^▼ethlife."— 2Cor. iii.6. 





THE lord's supper: 

Was the most august of all the Pagan ceremooies odih 
bratedy more especially by the Athenians, every fifth jear» 
in honour of Ceres, the goddess of corn, who, in allegwieal 
language, had given us her flesh to eat; as Bacchus, tiie 
god of wine, in a like sense, had given us his blood to drimki 
diough boUi these mysticisms are claimed by JesQS 
Christ, (John vi. 55.) They were celebrated every fiftk 
year at Eleusis, a town of Attica, from whence theirnan^^f 
which name, however, both in die word and in the sipii^ 
fication of it, is precisely the same as one of the titles €f 
Jesus Christ* From these ceremonies, in like manner, ii 
derived the very name attached to our Christian sagrnwnW 
of the Lord's supper — ** those holy mysteries f^ andnei-eM 
or two, but absolutely all and every one of the obswvanDst 
used in our Christian solemnity. V ery many of o«ir ttmm 
of expression in that solemnity are precisdy the wtom 
as those that appertained to the Pagan rite. Nor, not- 
withstanding all we hear of the rapid propagation of 
Christianity, and the conversion of Constantine^ wem 
these heathen mysteries abolished, till the reign of the 
elder Theodosius, who had the honour of instituting tfie 
Inquisition, which was so great an improvement upon 
them, in their stead, about the year 440. 

Mosheim acknowledges, that ** the primitive Christiaiuif 
gave the name of mysteries to the institutions of tha 
Gospel, and decorated particularly the holy sacrament 
with that title ; that they used the very terms employed itt 
the heathen mysteries, and adopted some of the rites aHid 
ceremonies of which those renowned mysteries consisted* 
This imitation began in the eastern provinces ; but, after 
the time of Adrian, who first introduced the mjrstMitti 
among the Latins, it was followed by the Christians wlio 
dwelt in the western parts of the elnpire. A great par^ 
therefore, of the service of the church in this century (the 
second) had a certain air of the heathen mysteries, and 
resembled them considerably in many particulars/* 

* 2u CI • tpxofJM^f-'** Alt thou the he that ihmdd come /"—John zL S. BUwrif, 
Uie Adrent, or cowUmgy from the oommoii root, 
t Mothdm, roL 1, p. 204. 





1. ^' Bat as the benefit of l/'Foras the benefit is great. 

initiation was great, such as 
were convicted of witchcraft, 
murder, even though uninten- 
tional, or any other heinous 
crimes,were debarred from those 
mysteries."— i?ett'« Panth. in 
iwo quo res. 

2. At their entrance, purify- 
ing themselves by washing their 
btmds in holy water, they were 
at the same time admonished to 
pment themselves with pure 
muds, without which the ex- 
ttmal cleanness of the body 
would by no means be accepted. 


S. The priests who officiated 
IB these sacred solemnities, were 
ttlled HierophantSyOr revealers 
rfholy things. 

4. After this, they were dis- 
ttitied in these words :— 
KoyS OfjoraK' 

Kit were possible to be mistaken in the significancy of 
the monogram of Bacchus, the I H S, to whose honour, in 
coiMonction with Cerbs, these holy mysteries were distinc- 
tiTely dedicated, the insertion of those letters in a circle 
ot rays of glory ^ over the centre of the holy table, is an 
hieroglyphic that depends not on the fallibility of trans- 
lation, but conveys a sense that cannot be misread by any 
me on which the sun's light shines. I H S are Greek 
raaracters, by ignorance taken for Roman letters ; and 
Yeb, which is the proper reading of those letters, is none 
Other than the very identical name of Bagchus, that is, 
of the Sun, of which Bacchus was one of the most dis- 
tinguisbed personifications ; and Yes, or Ies, with the 
Latin termination us, added to it, is Jesw. The surround- 
ing rays of glory, as expressive of the sun's light, make 
the identity of Christ and Bacchus as clear as the sun. 

These rays of glory are a sort of universal letter that 
cannot be misread or misinterpreted ; no written Ian* 

if> with a true penitent heart 
and lively faith^ we receive that 
holy sacrament, &c. if any be 
an open and notorious evil-liver, 
or hath done wrong to his neigh- 
bour, &c. that he presume not 
to come to the Lord's table.*'— 
Communion Senriee. 

2. See the fonts of holy water 
at the entrance of every catholic 
chai>el in Christendom for the 

Let us draw near with a 
true heart, having our hearts 
sprinkled from an evil consci- 
ence, and our bodies washed 
with pure water. — Heb. x. 22. 

3. Let a man so account of 
us as of the ministers of Christ, 
and stewards of the mysteries 
of Ood. — 1 Cor. iv. 1. 

4. In English, thus : — 
The Lord be with you. 


gnage> no words that man could nttor, conld M distinctlyy 
so expressively say that it was the Sun, and nothing but 
the Snn, that was so cmblemised. And these rays are seen 
alike surrounding the heads of the Indian ChrebshnA, 
as he is exhibited in the beautiful plate engrayed by 
Barlow, and inscribed to the Archbishop of 'Canterbury; 
round the Grecian Apollo; and in all our pictures of Jesus 
Christ. Nay, more — the epithet The Lord, as we have 
seen, was peculiarly and distinctively appropriate to the 
Sun, and to all personifications of the Sun; so that the 
Sun and the Lord were perfectly synonimous, and 
Sun's day and the LonTs day the same to every nation on 
whom his light hath shone. 

As it was especially to the honour of BacchuS) as the 
Sun, that the mysteries were celebrated, so the bread amd 
wine which the Lord (or Sun) had commanded to be received^ 
was called the I^rd^s supper. Throughout the whole cere- 
mony, the name of the Lord was many times repeated, 
and his brigiitness or glory^ not only exhibited to the eye 
by the rays which surrounded his name, but was made the 
peculiar theme or subject of their triumphant exultation. 
Now bring we up our most sacred Christian ordinaace ! 
I'hat also is designated, as the ceremony in honour of 
Bacchus was, the Lord's Supper. In that also all other 
epithets of the deity so honoured, are merged in the 
peculiar appropriation of the term The Lord. It would 
sound irreverently, even in Christian ears, to call it 
Jcsus's supper, or Jesus*s table ; it is always termed the 
Lord's. And as in the Lord's supper of the ancient idol- 
ators at Eleusis, it was the benefit which they received 
from the sun*s rays or glory that were commemorated, vo 
in our Christian orgies, it is the glory or brightness of th^ 
same deity which is peculiarly symbolized and honoured 
A poor Jewish peasant never was, nor could have bett 
called the Lord. Let us take words according to tbe 
meaning of words, and not sufier our reason to be 
sophisticated by mere sounds, which have in themselves 
no meaning at all, and we shall see that our English word 
Glory is but a ridiculously sonorous mouthing of its 
original. Clary. The exact meaning of clary is bright- 
ness ; the attribute of brightness is pecidiarly characteristic 
of the Sun : use only the meaning of the word, instead of 
its unmeaning sound, wherever it occurs, and the heliolar 
trous sense and origination of our Christian Commnidon 
Service, and its absolute identity with the Pagati myste- 



ties of Eleusis, caa no longer etade detection ; for thus 
ran the Eleusinian and the Christian mysteries, like 
linked horses in a chariot, step for step> and phrase for 
phrase, together. 



Brightness be to God on high ! We praise thee, we 
brighten thee (that is, we say that thou art bright), we 
give thee thanks for thy great brightness. Heaven and 
earth are fiill of thy brightness. Brightness be to thee, 
P Lord (that is, O Sun) most high !" 

Is not this the real, the only sense, of both mysteries ? 
If it be not, our ignorance has, at least, one consolation : 
we shall not have to quarrel with any body who can tell 
ns what is ! Safe enough are we from any thing like an 
idea on the part of the partakers of those holy mjrsteries : 
a sensible person who had received the sacrament, might 
be shown for a week afterwards at the menagerie. 



1. Titan, the eldest of the 1. Satan, the eldest of the 

children of heaven, yielded to 

Saturn the kingdom of the 

^orld, provided he raised no 

more children ; bat on the birth 

of Jupiter, he rebelled, and 

riii»ing war in heaven, prevailed 

not, neither was his place found 

anymore in heaven. He and 

all his host of rebel angels were 

cut out, and imprisoned under 

roooDtains heaped upon them. 

Their vain attempts to rise is the 

sopposed cause of earthquakes 

and volcanoes. 

*' Or from oar sacred bill, with fury 
Deep in the dnrk Tartarean gulph 

shall groan/' 
Jupiier'» threat to the inferior godi, 
HiaAf 6. Pope* 8 Version, 

2, Latona was driven out of 
heaven, and having been got 
with child hy Jupiter, without 
knowledgeof a man,she brought 
forth her son, our Lord and Sa- 
viour PlKBbiis*Apollo, " the 

children of heaven, yielded to 
Jehovah the kingdom of the 
world, provided he raised no 
more children ; but on the birth 
of Messiah, he rebelled, and 
raising war in heaven, " pre- 
vailed not, neither was his place 
found any more in heaven," 
(Rev. xii. 8.) " And the an- 
gels which kept not their first 
estate, he hath reserved in ever- 
lasting* chains under darkness, 
unto the judgment of the great 
day." — ^Jude 6. 

*^ God spared not the angels 
that sinned, but cast them down 
to Hell."— 2 Pet. ii. 4. Note 
well ! the original word signi- 
fies Tartarus. 

2. Eve was driven outof Para- 
dise, and in her representative 
Mary, ^' seeing she knew not a 
man," hrought forth her son, 
our Lord Jesus Christ, '^ being 
the brightness of his |^lory^ and 






brightness of his father's glory/' the express image of his penoo,* 

and the express image of his (Heb. i. 3,) ^ she lud him In a 

person. She was, at the time manger, because there was no 

of her delivery, refused a places room forthem in theinn,** (Luke 

where to bring forth, and was ii. 7.) '^ And the dragon perse- 

persecated all her life by the 
dragon Python. 

3. Her son at length slew 
the Python, and was by Jupiter 
exalted with ^at triumph unto 
his kingdom m heaven. 

Another edition, 

4. Jupiter transforms himself 
into a swan, and in that shape 
enjoys Leda, a married woman, 
who became with child by him. 

5. The incarnation of Yiche- 

6. The Logos, or Word of 
God, an epithet of Mercury. — 
Justin Martyr's Apology. 

7. Unum pro nmltis dabitur 
caput,r Virgil.) — t. e. One hecui 
shall be given as the redemp' 
tionfor many, 

8. " The Vandals had a god 
called Triglaf; one of those 
was found at Herlungerberg, 
near Brandenburg He was re- 
presented with three heads. 
This was apparently the Trinity 
qf Paganism," Sqch are the 
very words of the orthodox 
Christian, Parkhnrst. 

cuted the woman which bcioiight 
forth the man Aild.** — Rev. 
xii. 13. •• 

3. And the seed of the wo* 
man bruised the serpent's head, 
" and her child was caught up 
to God, and to his throne.*'-— 
Rev. xii. 5. 

Another edition. 

4. Jehovah, in the shape of 
a pigeon, (Jmmbraiei the wife 
of Joseph, who becomes with 
child by him. — ^Luke i.^ 

5. The incarnation of Christ 

6. The Logos, or Won! of 
God, an epithet of Jesus Christ 
— St. John*s GospeL 

7. " So Christ was once of- 
fered to bear the sins of many." 
Heb. ix. 28. 

8. '' To God the Father, Son, 
And Spirit, ever blest— »i 

Eternal Three in One- 
All worship be addresf 
Such are the words of the or- 
thodox Christian Doxology. 

* The editors of the Unitarian New Veraion of the NewTMtamfmt, wko rwy 
modettly wish to shorel all these spurcities and naJaritieB out of the sacred text, 
have the impndence to tell os, in a note, that they were interpolated to leases 
the odium attached to Christianity, from its founder bein^ a crucified Jew, and 
to derate him to the dignity of the heroes and demi-gods of the heathen nnrtho- 
logy. So then, the argument of the primitive c£nstians with their Fagn 
ppponents was good-natured enough—J^ ^ou wnH adopt omt rdtgi^ ^ ' W ^f 
fp^U adopi ^omn, ■ ' ' * ' ^ 




9. The ancient Oauls had an 9. The difference between 

idpl, under the name Hsaus, jEre#u«and/6«v«isbutabreath. 

who, the mytholog^sts say, an- '' The Lord of Hosts, he is 

^wered to the Roman Mars, or the King of Glory." — Psalm 

Lord of Hosts, to whom they xxiv. 10. 

Dsed to sacrifice their captives "Thou art the King of Glory, 

taken in war; of whom Xrucan, O Christ !" — Te Deuniy 14. 

book], 1iDeM45, ^' Thou shalt bruise them with 

Horrems^ferU altarUm. Hesus ! ^."^ ^^,.\f^°' and break them in 

pieces, like a potter s vessel." — 
Hems, wilh cruel altars, hor- Psalm ii. 9. 
rid god ! " And he was clothed in a 

vesture dipped in blood." — Rev, 
xix. 13. 

*' Thus have I attempted to trace, with a confidence 
continually increasing as I advanced, a parallel between 
the gods adored in Greece, Italy, and India ; but which 
was the original system, and which the copy, I will not 
presume to decide. I am perauaded, however, that a 
connection existed between the old idolatrous nations of 
Egypt, India, Greece, and Italy, long before the birth 
of Moses." 

So concludes the pious Sir William Jones, Asiatic 
Researches, vol. 1, p. 271. The reader is to conclude as 
be pleases. 



As all ideas of man are derived from his senses, and 
consequently may be traced to their origination from that 
their only source, the gods and goddesses, or any god 
that conceit could form to itself, would still admit of 
being referred to its primordial type in something the like 
of which experience bad first been impressed on the senses. 
Having found innumerable pre-existent models of the 
imaginary supernatural character of Christ, we discover 
in the Samian sage every thing that could have furnished 
forth the calmer and more philosophic personification of 
Unitarian Christianity, the mere man Jesus. 

Pythagoras, as his name signifies, had been bom'xinder 
prediely the ciicanustmices ascribed to Jesus Christ; 


havings been the object of a splendid dispensatimi of pro- 
phecy, and had bis birth foretold by ApoUo Pythus ; his 
sooi haying descended from its primaBvid state of com- 
panionsbip with the divine Apollo, ^' the glory which he 
had with the father before the world was.'* — John viL &• 

Divesting his story, however, of the supernatural snper- 
structure that could be as eaisily pretended for any one 
extraordinary character as for any other; it remains hu- 
toricaUy certain, that this first of philosophers^ and most 
distinguished individual of the human race, was a real 
character, and was bom at Samos, in Greece, (from 
whence his epithet, the Samian sage,) in the third year of 
the 48th Olympiad — that is, 586 years before the epocha 
of the pretended birth of his Galilean rival. He was 
educated under Pherecydes, of Syrus, of whom Cicero 
speaks, as the first who inculcated the doctrine of the dis- 
tinct existence and immortality of the soul ; and after- 
wards became the distinguished pupil of the priests of 
Egypt. The limits of this work admit not of our dwelling 
on any further particulars of his history, than those in 
which he {nresents the most cleat and unquestionable 
tjrpe of the character afterwards set forth to the world 
under the prosopopeia generally designated as Jesus Christ. 

Pythagoras is most characteristically associated with 
the doctrine which he taught, and which takes its name 
from him, — the Pythagorean Metempsychosis.^ After his 
master had broached the notion of the existence and 
immortality of souls, it was but a second and a neces- 
sary step, to find some employment for them ; and that of 
their eternal migration from one body to another, after 
every efibrt that imagination can make, will be found at 
least as consistent with reason as tliat of their existence 
at all, and that in which the mind, after all its plunges 
into the vast unkno¥m, must ultimately acquiesce.f 

" Eternity ! thou pleasing, dreadful thought ! 
Through what variety of untried being, 
Through what new scenes and changes must we pass i 
The wide, th' unbounded prospect lies before us ; 
fint shadows, clouds, and darkness, rest upon it I 

Addi90n*t Cmt9. 

Pythagoras, however, left behind him more substantial 
evidence of real wisdom, and of actual benefits conferred 

* Mffrc^iifa^xfiMTis, the transnougration of the soul out of one body into aootlMr, 
from /i«ra and 4'vx>l> the Ufe, the breath, the wit, the soul, the Je-ne-saU'gmi. 

't Itie Mefempvfdiosb orerihrows the doctrine of the eferlastiBg tofoibiti 
piktH^&tt ; msfip on tilt icopont, fa hm tangmUk U CMrtim iliiip MHiiM. . 

FyruAOORAS. 8i9 

opon mankind, than were ever challenged for the ima- 
ginary successor of his honors. He is generally and 
indisputably held to be the discoverer of tb» cdeteated 
forty-ninth theiurem of the first book of Euclid ; which 
demonstrates that the square of the hypothennae of 
the right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the 
squares of its sides ; and to have first laid down that 
theory of the i^anetary system which, after having been 
laid aside, or forgotten through all the intervening ages 
of Christian ignorance^ has been revived, and shown to 
be the true and real system, by the discoveries of Sir Isaac 
Newton, and subsequent demonstrations of all succeeding 
astronomers. Had any thing like evidence of this nature 
been adducible for the pretensions of Jesus of Nasareth, 
there would not have been an infidel in Christendom. 

Pythagoras was a teacher of the purest system of 
morals ever propounded to man. He has the merit (let 
grateful women apportion his praise) of having first 
claimed and achieved for the fair sex, their distinction of 
dress from that of men, and their title to that more tender 
respect and exalted courtesy which none worthy the name 
of men will ever withhold from them. He abated the 
ferocity of war, and taught and induced mankind to 
extend feelings of humanity and tenderness to the whole 
brute creation. His personal beauty surpassed whatever 
else had been seen in humanity ; his voice was the richest 
music that ever sounded on the human ear, and his 
powers of suasion were absolutely irresistible. The 
Christian Fathers taunt his vanity ^ and ridicule his claims 
to supernatural memory; but it is certain that Pythagoras 
has tumself ascribed his memory to the especial fieivour 
of heaven, and held the happiest endowments ever 
possessed by man with the utmost meekness in Ittms^, 
and to the greatest possible profit to mankind. His 
notions of the Deity will challenge comparison with 
any that enrich the pages of Christian Scripture. The 
principle of self-examination, which he incidcated on his 
disciples, as we see in the golden verses ascribed to him, is 
far from being compatible with so proud a spirit, as bis 
mighty reason to be proud might tempt our envy to 
ascribe to him; or if the genuineness of those verses, 
which at any rate are from no Christian mint^ be dis- 
pfutable, the short and pithy axiom which Clemens Alex- 
andrinus acknowledges to have be^d ch|uracteristic«illy 
Jus, must for ever nwober him among those wJio liasre 
thought of the Deity m^M none <of the human mot, mt »* 


ther widiont the aid of revelation or with it, have ever 
thought more worthily — ** None but God is wise/' said 

Pythagoras himself was certainly not the inventor of 
the doctrine of the Metempsychosis^ but learned it of the 
Egyptian monks, in whose college he was long a resident, 
and of whose ecclesiastical fraternity he was unquestion- 
ably a member; he only inculcated this doctrine. nM»e 
earnestly, and endeavoured to weld it, as he did other 
superstitions which he found too deeply rooted to be 
eradicated, to useful, or at least innocent and inoffensive 

The Christian doctrines of original sin, and of the 
necessity of being bcm again, are evident misunder- 
standings of the doctrine of the Pythagorean Metem- 
psychosis, which constituted the inward spiritual grace, or 
essential significancy of the Eleusinian mysteries ; as the 
classical reader will find those mysteries sublimely treated 
of in the 6th book of Virgil's ^neid. The term of migra- 
tion during which the soul of man was believed to expiate 
in other forms the deeds done in its days of humanity, 
was exactly a thousand years ; after which, drinking of the 
waters of Lethe, which caused a forgetfolness of all that 
had passed, it was ferryed down the river, or sailed under 
the conduct of Mercury, the Logos, or Word of God, and 
'' wind and tide serving/' was so borne or carried, and 
bom of water and wind* and launched again into humanity, 
for a fresh experiment of moral probation. Hence souls 
that had acquitted themselves but ill in their previous 
existence, were believed to be born in sin, and to have 
brought with them the remains of a corrupt nature derived 
firom their former state, for which they were stiU further 
punished by the calamitous circumstances in which thev 
were bom, or the difficulties with which they should stiU 
have to contend, till they should ultimately recover them- 
selves to virtue and happiness. This was the doctrine, and 
nothing but this, which Christ is represented as endea- 
vouring to inculcate upon Nicodemus the ruler of the 
Jews ; and for his ignorance and gross apprehensions of 
which, he so tartly rallies that Jewish rabbi — ^^ Art thou 

* Oar English of the words ear yuti ris ywvffiii c( vSarros koi wevMOfros— ^&r- 
€tfi • man be bom 9/ water and of the tpMtf" (John iii. 5,) mnd of the woidi 

£^L _ _... .^ _ „„_, ^ ... ^ 

Ihi'Boly Qhost ihonld be rendered the H0I7 Puff. Note, nothby nuik« a 
mmfK^^irttamlfy'miad9d if wind «t the sloiiwch. 


a If A8TBR of Israel, and knowest not these things?** — John 
iii. 10. It must be stupidity itself that could dream of 
any reason or propriety in rebuking the Jewish ruler for 
not knowing these things, if they were matters then Jirst 
leyealedy or not so common as that no well-educated 
person had any excuse for being ignorant of them. 

In John ix. 2, the disciples are represented as pro- 
pounding to Jesus a question which would never have 
occurred but to minds entirely possessed of the Py^a- 
gorean doctrine— '' Master, who did sin, this man or mspa^ 
rents, that he was born blind?" which the Master (the cha- 
racteristic epithet of Pythagoras) answers precisely as 
Pythagoras might have done— ^ Neither hath this man 
sinned, nor his parents/' 8cc. While the Jews imagine 
themselves to launch the severest invective against the 
blind man, in holding his being bom blind as a proof that 
he must have been a very wicked wretch in some pre- 
existent state : '' Thou wast altogether bom in sins, and dost 
thou teach us?** — John ix. 34. 

In Matthew xvii. 14, we find the Pharisees represented, 
according to the Pythagorean doctrines, as sajring that 
Jesus was Elias ; and in Matthew xviii. 13, Jesus himself^ 
so far from discountenancing that doctrine, confirms it, 
by giving his disciples to understand that John the Bap- 
tist was the soul of Elias come again in the person of that 

But the ninetieth Psalm, selected to be read as a part 
of our Burial Service, is entirely Pythagorean, and delivers 
the doctrine of the Metempsychosis too particularly to 
be mistaken, or to admit of any other possible under- 
standing : — 

" Lord, thou hast been our refuge from one generation to 
another;'* that is, in every state of existence through 
which we have already passed. 

*' Thou tumest man to destruction : again thou sayest, Come 
again, ye children of men.*'* 

*^ For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday : 
seeing that is passed as a watch tn the night.** 

** Comfort us again now, after the time that thou hast 
plagued us, and for the years wherein we have suffered adver- 
sity,** &c. 

Be it remembered, that the exact length of the Pytha- 
gorean term of migration was a thousand years ; and surely 

* Obaenre how evidently this is the Umgoage of quotttion. Some W9rd ^f 
09d, or from eome nered Mriptnre which had reported his word, hctoe either 
the New or Old TesUmenthMbMB impoied on huBin credulity. 


no argfament could seem so weU ealculated to oonsole and 
comfort the mind nnder the fear of death, or for the loss 
of friends, as the persuasion thus inculcated, that the 
period of separation would pass but as a watch in the 
night, and that, upon their next return into humanity, 
they should be comforted in proportion to all the advenrity 
that they had gone through in their present condition. 

That Pythagoras should haye adopted this whimsical 
but sublime theory, as the basis of a purer system of 
morality, or rather, perhaps, made the best of a system 
which he found too deeply-rooted in men's minds to 
admit of being safely disturbed; that he should have 
followed that allegorical and senigmatical mode of con- 
veying metaphysical speculations* and moral truths 
which characterized his age and country, thereby subject- 
ing himself and his theories to the ridicule Aat must 
necessarily attach to all allegories and figurations, whose 
significancy can no longer be traced ; that he should have 
descended to the juggling tricks of pretended communis 
cations with the Deity; that he should have deceived 
mankind in so many particulars in which it cannot be 
denied that he was a deceiver, and have degraded his 
great wisdom by a conjunction with as great folly ; has 
its full apology in the simple statement, Pythagoras was 
a man ; and with all his imperfections on his head, we 
shall look among the race of men, for his better, in vsun, 
yea, for his equal, or his second, but in vain. 

Pythagoras was entirely a Deist, a steady maintainor 
of the unity of God, and of the eternal obligations of 
moral virtue. No Christian writings, even to this day, 
can compete in sublimity and grandeur with what this 
illustrious philosopher has laid down concerning God, 
and the end of all our actions ; cuid it is likely, says Bayle, 
that he would have carried his orthodoxy much &rther, 
had he had the courage to expose himself to martjrrdom. 

The circumstances of the death of Pythagoras are 
variously reported. He lived at Crotona, in Mile's house, 
with his disciples, and was burnt in it. A man whom he 
refused to admit into his society, set the house on fire. 

According to Dicsearchus, he fled to the temple of the 
muses at M etapoutum, and died there of hunger. See upon 
this subject the learned collections of Menagius. Amobius 

* HIg religious respect or antipathy to beans, were the circamstance dirested 
of Christian exaggeration, or we were possessed of the cine, might admit of as 
mtional an unravelling as the Egyptian worship of onions. See this DiBGfttis, 
p. 29. Aristoxentts assures us that Pythagoras would often ea* beus, bit rtK- 
fkras conceits Botwtthstanding. 

PVTHAO0RA8. 298 

affirms that be was burned alive in a temple ; otbers state 
that he was slain in attempting to make his escape. 

It can hardly be doubted that his death was violent^ 
notwithstanding the divine honours paid to him after- 
wards, and that, with all that he did to deceive mankind, 
or rather perhaps to preserve himself, he fell at last a 
martyr to his generous efforts to undeceive them. 

The strongest type of resemblance or coincidence with 
the apostolic story, which the history of the Samian sage 
presents is, that the Egyptian Therapeuts boasted of his 
name as a member of their monastic institution ; and that 
Pythagoras certainly made his disciples live in common, 
and that they renounced their property in their patri- 
mony, and that '' as many as were possessors of lands or nouses, 
sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 
and laid them down at the apostles' feet ; and distribution was 
made to every man according as he had need.'* — Acts iv. 85. 

An ill construction was put upon their union, and it 
proved very fatal to them. That society of students 
being looked upon as a faction which conspired against 
tiie state, sixty of them were destroyed, and the rest ran 
away. *' Three hundred young men," says Justin, 
** formed into a society by a kind of oath, lived together 
by themselves, and were looked upon as a private faction 
by the state, who intended to bum them as they were 
assembled in one house. Almost sixty of them perished 
in the tumult, and the rest went into banishment." This 
event, however, appears not to have occurred till some 
time after the death of their divine master. 

Let the reader compare these historical facts with the 
story of the Holy Ghost descending in the shape of fire upon 
the heads of the apostles, when they were all with one accord in 
one place, ^tlA their subsequent dispersion, as detailed in the 
second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, so grossly 
fabulous, and so monstrously absurd, that there is not in 
the present day a Christian minister, who dare bring the 
subject before the contemplation of his hearers ; and then 
let him give to Christianity the benefit of all the doubt he 
diall entertain that these facts are not the basis of that 
fiction. — See his Creed, and Golden Verses, in our chapter 
Specimens op Pagan Piety. 

So conscious are the Christian Fathers of the supe- 
riority of Pythagoras in every respect, that they endeavour 
to show that he was a Jew ;* that he had been an imme- 

* Itto f)B«re q^ Nauntom Pythagons mweqitoi^ 
iptniii €M6 ' EsocttciMii propbolini tndldciuoit* Ex popiilo /Qdnomn gwrat 


diate disciple of the Jewish prophet Ezekiel; that he^ as 
well as Pherecydes, Thales, Solon^ and Plato, had leamed 
the doctrine of the true Grod, not only among the 
Egyptians, but from the Hebrews themselves. 

In the account which the emperor Ck>nstantine gives of 
the matter, in his oration to the holy congregation of the 
clergy, Pythagoras, to be sure, is an impostor, inasmuch 
as that '^ those things which the prophets had foretold, 
he delivered to the Italians as if God had particulariy* 
revealed them to him."* 

Lactantius, however, admits, and expresses his wonder, 
that when Pythagoras, and afterwards Plato, incited by 
the love of seeking truth, had travelled as far as to the 
Egyptians, the Magi, and the Persians, to learn the rites 
and ceremonies of those nations, they should never have 
consulted the Jews, with whom alone the true msdom 
was to be found, and to whom they might have gone miNDe 
readily ."t The Jews ! /— Paugh ! 

^^ Of the vast variety of religions which have prevailed 
at different times in the world, perhaps there was no one 
that has been more general than that of the Metempsy- 
chosis.' It continued to be believed by the early Christian 
Fathers, and by several sects of Christians. 

** As much as this doctrine is now scouted, it was held 
not only by almost all the great men of antiquity, but 
a late very ingenious writer, philosopher, and Christian 
apologist, avowed his belief in it, and published a defence 
of it; namely, the late Soame Jenyns." — Higgins* Celtic 
Druids, pp. 283, 284. 

It is not, indeed, rational; but what metaphysical 
speculation of any sort is so? Had it been more frightful, - 
it would have been more orthodox. 



As it is really too much to be believed, and we wish to draw 
on no man's confidence who may have the means of cer* 

duxisse Pjrthagoram, plcrosque arbitrare scribit Ambrosios. — Kortkoili Pagan, 
Obtrect, p. 48. ^atri 8c ovres cv aiyvirrco o yuovov irap* euyvirrmf, oAAa jmu way 
TfipcuwVy ra wtpi td ovrus ^tiax^rpftu 6§8. — Theodoritus Tkereapeut, lib. I. 

* Constaotine's Oration, c. 9. 

t Soleo admirari quod cum Pythagoras et pottea Plato amore iadaganda 
veritatis accensi, ad iEgyptios et Magos, et Persan usque penetrassent, ot eamin 
gentium ritus et sacra cognoscerent — ad Judsos taotum non acceaserintt peoei 
quos tunc solos erat, ct quo facilius ire potuissent.— /NmM. Intt, lib. 4, cap. 2. 

X For the '< Life of Archbishop TiUotioD/' tee Wordiworth'e EccloiMtical 

T1LIX)T80N. 2^ 

tifjring himself, that the highest dignitary of the church 
of England, the brightest ornament it ever had, and the 
honestest man that ever received honour from it, or re- 
flected honour on it, should so have given tongue, so have 
confessed the whole cheat, betrayed his craft, and yielded 
CTery thing that philosophy could aim to conquer ; I give 
the ** litera scripta," the ** ipsissima verba" the written 
letter, the very words themselves, which will be found in the 
forty-sixth of the '^ fifty-four sermons and discourses 
which were published by his Grace himself;" this being 
the second of the two entitled, '' Concerning the Incarnation 
of our blessed Saviour ;" on the text (John i. 14), " The 
Word was made flesh ;" and preached in the church of St. 
Lawrence Jewry, Dec. 28, 1680 ;^ occurring in the fourth 
Yolnme, 8vo, of Woodhouse's edition, A. d. 1744; and of 
that volume, p. 143. It is remarkable, that, even so long 
ago, mankind were not quite so stupid as not to scent out 
the latitant waggery of these discourses, which would have 
gone nigh to have cost an ecclesiastic of humbler rank 
bis ears in the pillory, or at least a year or two in Oakham 
Jail. The mitred infidel, however, in an advertisement to 
the reader, informs us, that ^' the true reason of publishing 
these discourses, was not the importunity of friends, but 
the importunate clamours and malicious calumnies of 
others, whom he heartily prays God to forgive, and give 
diem better minds." Amen. 

Some Account of the Christian Dispensation, 

^* The third and last thing which I proposed upon this 
argument of the Incarnation of the Son of Cod, was to give 
some account of this dispensation, and to show that the 
wisdom of God thought fit thus to order things, in great 
condescension to the weakness and common prejudices of 

mankind. f 

- ** And it is the more necessary to give some account of 
this matter, because after all that haUi hitherto been said 

Biography. An Essay on his Character and Writings, constitutes the fifteenth 
of tlie author's fifty letters prom Oakham, and will be found in the 21st 
number of the 1st volume of The Lion. 

* The characteristic distinction between Archbishop Tillotson and other 
archbishops and bishops, those of our own times more especially, is, that he 
waii fpoliih enough to commit himself by public preaching, which our modem 
biahops, on the principle, ** least said soonest mended,** know better than to do ; 
and that though he was withal a very bishop, he was an honester roan than any 
of them ; and, God knows, that's no compliment. 

f The reader will observe, that the hyphen, thus, — , is inserted, to indicate 
that the sentence is relieved of its prolixity : not a syllable is added, nor one 
omitted, that in the least degree could qualify the sense. 


in answer to the objections against it,* it may still seem 
very strange to a considering man^f that God, who could 
without all this circumstance and condescension have 
done the busine$s,% should yet have made choice of ihis 
way," &c. 

'' But since God hath been pleased to pitch upon diig 
way rather than any other, this surely ought to be reason 
enough, whether the particular reasons of it appear to ns 
or not.§ — ^p. 144. 

'^ Secondly, I consider, in the next place, that in several 
revelations which Grod hath made of himself to mankind, 
he hath, with great condescension, accommodated himself 
to the condition and capacity, and other circiimstAnces» of 
the persons and people to whom they were made. Vna 
the religion and laws which God gave than (ue. the 
Jewish nation) were far from being the best (indeed!). 
God gave them statutes which were not good, that is^ very 
imperfect in comparison of what he comd and would have 
given them had Uiey been capable of them.! — p. 145. 

'^ Thirdly, I observe yet further, that though the CSuristiAn 
religion, as to the main and substance of it, be a most 
perfect institution, yet, upon a due consideration of tfaiiigs» 
it cannot be denied, that the manner and circumstances of 
this dispensation are full of condescension to the weakness 
of mankind, and very much accommodated to the most 
common and deeply radicated prejudices of men.^f 

'^ But in history and fact, this is certain, that some 
notions, and those very gross and erroneous, did almost 
universally prevail ; and diough some of these were much 
more tolerable than others, yet God seems to have had 
great consideration of some very weak and gross iq[>pre- 
hensions of mankind concerning religion. And as in some 
of the laws given by Moses, Grod was pleased particulaily 
to consider the hardness of the hearts of that people; so 
he seems likewise to have very much suited the dispensa- 
tion of the Grospel, and the method of our salvation, by 

* Which is, being utterpreted^AU that has been said in answer to the oljae* 
tions, has been very jejune and unsatisfactory. 

t Which is, being (nterpreted—H is considering men who are the infiikk 

X Which is, being interpreted—Much ado about nothing. 

I Which is, being interpreted, *' Shut your eyes, and open your month, mA 
9ee what God will send you.** 

H This might hare been fair play, provided God himself was not mkie t» tSr 
large or improTe their capacity. 

^ Which is, being interpreted^The Christian religion, cren as to the mmn 
and substance of it, b full of nonsense and barbarity, and only ndtad to the 
brutal apprehensions of saTages and foola. 

T1LL0T80N. tt7 

tile incatnatioti and sufferings of his Son^ to the common 
prejudices of mankind, especially of the heathen world, 
whose minds were less prepared for this dispensation than 
the Jews,* 

** That God hath done this in the dispensation of the 
Gosjiel, will, I think, very plainly appear in the following 
instances. — p. 147. 

•* 1st, The world was much given to admire mysteries,t 
most of which were either very odd and fantastical, or very 
lewd and impure, or very inhuman and cruel. But the 
great mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God, was 
stLch a mystery as did obscure and swallow up all other 
lifysteries. Since the world had such an admiration for 
mysteries, that was a mystery indeed — a mystery beyond 
aU dispute, and beyond all comparison4 — p-48. 

" 2dly. There was likewise a great inclination in man- 
kind to the worship of a visibk Deity, (so) God was pleased 
to appear in our nature, that they who were so fond of a 
visible Deity might have one, even a true and natural 
iftiage of Grod the Father, the express image of his 

'^Sdly, Another notion which has generally obtained 
amolig mankind, was concerning the expiation of the sins 
of men, and appeasing the offended Deity by sacrifice — 

SDH which they supposed the punishment due to the 
ner was transferred— to exempt him from it, especially 
by the sacrifices of men.H^p. 148. And with this general 

* Good Ood ! could a biahop ia tkrooger flifnificancy discorer his heartfelt 
hatred of Chfistiaoity. He held Christians to be more hard-hearted than the 
Jews themselres, and so God snited his religion to thdr hard-heartedness. 

f Compare with the chapter Eleusinian Mysteries, and with Admissions of 
CMilian Writers, p. 52, No. 51, in this Dibobbis. 

% O spirit of Voltaire 1 Was erer sarcasm on earth more sarcastic ? Was ft 
in plainer language that an Archbishop of Canterbury could hare told us, 
that the Christian religion was the oddest, the lewdest, and the bloodiest that 
•rer was upon earth, '^ beyond all dispute, and beyond aU comparison ?" 

i This was the Spaniard Cortes's way of converting the Mexicans, when he 
dire# down their imiwe of the Sun, and unfurled a picture of the Virgin Mary 
in its stead, with a — ''There, you dogs, an* you must hare something to wor- 
ship, worship that!'* — History qfJmtriea* 

And thus In the original Acts of the Apostles, written by Abdias Bishop of 
Babylon, who professes to haye been ordained by the Apostles themselyes, we 
hare it related, that the blessed Saint i'hilip the Evangel'ist, preaching to the 
Qjpythiant, exclaimed, " Tkroto down this Mars and break hhn, and in the place 
im which he seems to stand Jlred^ set up the Cross of ntf Lord Jesus Christ, and 
worship that," — Dejicite hunc Martem et confringite, et in loco in quo fixus 
videtur stare, crucem Domini mei Jesu Christ! affigite, et banc adorate. — 
FmbritU Cod, Apocryp. tom. 2, tit hac re, 

] That is, God was pleased to approre and sanction husman sacrifices. And 
what was tJie difference between tnis God and Moloch ? His Grace ^ howcrer 



notion of mankind, God was pleased so far to comply^ as 
once for all to have a general atonement miade for the smB 
of all mankind, by the sacrifice of his only Son, whom his 
wise providence did permit by wicked hands to be crucified 
and slain. 

** 4thly, Another very conmion notion, and very rife in 
the heathen world, and a great source of their idolatry, 
was their apotheosis, or canonizing of famous and eminent 
persons, by advancing them after their death to the dig- 
nity of an inferior kind of gods, fit to be worshipped by 
men here on earth, &c. Now, to take men off* from this 
kind of idolatry, and to put an end to it, behold ! one in 
our nature exalted to the right hand of the Majesty on 
high, to be worshipped by men and angels; one that 
was dead and is alive again, and lives for evermore to make m- 
tercession for us.* 

** 5thly, The world was mightily bent upon addressiiig 
their requests and supplications, not to the Deity imme- 
diately, but by some mediators between the gods and 
them. In a gracious compliance with this common ap- 
prehension, God was pleased to constitute and appoint 
One in our nature to be a perpetual advocate and inter- 
cessor in heaven for us, bone of our bone, and flesh of our 
flesh ^^ so very nearly allied and related to us, (that) we 
may easily believe that he hath a most tender care and 
concernment for us, if we ourselves, by our own wilfiil 
obstinacy, do not hinder it; for if we be resolved to con- 
tinue impenitent, there is no help for us ; we must die in 
our sins, and salvation itself cannot save us/' (p. 152.) — 
Thus far his Grace of Canterbury. 

The reader is requested to compare this language 
throughout, with the avowals of Mosheim, the apologies 

has the most explicit texts of the New Testament on his side, (and no rational 
man will erer have a word to say against theOld Testament) : " F&r i/thebhoi, 
ofbuUt and goats, and the athes of an heifer $prinkUug the unclean, samctifietk 
to the purifying of the flesh, how wuch more shall the blood of Christ,** SfcT 
Heb. ix. 13.— The force of the whole argument is, — the more monstronsly hor- 
rible, the more cruel, barbarous, and bloody, the more sanctifying efficacy in 
the sacrifice, and the more acceptable to this iii>RKiD Gou. 

* Perhaps this is the sererest irony, the most caustic sarcasm, that was erer 
couched in words. It is the *' Shew 'em in here," and '* yiU aUve, O !** of Bar- 
tholomew Fair. It is—** Our tricks beat theirs T* It is—" The foots I tkf 
idiots I nothing can be too gross for *em** 

t This is good, honest, downright materialism. " Bone of our bone, and 
flesh of our flesh,'* must inrolve our ways of making and sustaining bone and 
0esb. Here is no shiey and cloudy work, and no room to rail at Mahomet't 
lerrcatrial paradise. 


of Minncins Felix, Justin Martyr, and Tertallian— with 
the concessions of Gregory of Caesarea, Origen, and 
Melito, in their places in this Diegesis — and with the 
total absence of any historical recognition of the exist- 
ence of Christianity, as distinct from Paganism, within 
the first hundred years, or as distinct from a sectarian 
excrescence grown upon Paganism, within the first 
diousand years ; and let him be faithful to his own con- 




It would be alien from all ends of a Diegesis, or general 
narration of the character and evidences of the Christian 
religion, to have any ear or regard to the vituperations 
and wranglings of the various sects of Christians, who are 
each, if attended to, for unchristianizing all but themselves, 
and thus tearing the cause of their common Christianity 
to pieces, or surrendering it undefended to the scorn and 
triumph of its enemies. If Christianity be not, or was 
not, what the majority of those who professed and called 
themselves Christians, through a thousand years of its 
existence, held it to be, there is a sheer end of all possi- 
bility of ascertaining what it was or is, since, at that rate, 
it amounts to no more than the ideal chimera of any 
cracked brain you shall meet with ; and all that can be 
said of it is — 

*' As the fool thinketh, 
So the bell tinketh.** 

The intolerant and persecuting spirit of the established 
Protestant church, and the severity of the penalties in- 
flicted by law on all conscientious and honest avowals of 
the convictions which superior learning and deeper re- 
search might lead to, has enforced on the wisest and best 
of men a neccessity of convejring their general scepticism 
under covert of attacking the peculiar doctrines and prac- 
tices of the church of Rome. Because this mode of attack 
would be endured, this only was to be tolerated. The 
predominant sect, so their own tenure on the profits of 
gospelling remained unendangered, would look on with 
indifference, or even join in the game of running down and 
tearing to pieces their common parent. To this conten-^ 

tioos spirit of Chri$itiaus wiong ikemmireB, aiid their 
uiiion only in the wicked policy of persecuting iafidalfl^ 
we owe discoveries which in no other way could have 9^ 
tracted equal attention. We are thus enabled to carry ttorn^ 
or other of recognised Christian authorities all the wny 
with us^ taking up one where we set down another , tiUl W9 
arrive at the complete breaking np of all pr^teAC^ |o 
evidence of any sort, and bring orthodoxy itself to mh* 
scribe the demonstrations of reason. Thus M. Daill^ m 
his attempt to show that the religious worship of his fiel- 
low Christians of the Roman Catholic communion could 
be distinctly traced to the institutions of NumaPompilius, 
must lead every mind, capable of tracing our Protestant 
forms of piety to Roman Catholic institutions, to connect 
the first and last link of the sorites : ergo, Protestant cere- 
monies must have had the same origination. 

Dr. Conyers Middleton, the most distinguished orna- 
ment of the church of England, could not, compatibly 
with his personal convenience, venture to go the whok 
length of the way which he points out to the travel of 
freer spirits, though, by demonstrating the utter falsehood 
and physical impossibility of all and every other pretended 
miracle that ever was in the world, not excepting one 
(except such as he might have been put in the pillory if 
he had not excepted), he leaves the conclusion to be 
drawn — as it may be by every mind capable of drawing a 
conclusion, and as he could securely calculate that it 
would be — with a stronger effect of conviction than if he 
had himself prescribed it. 

Without regarding any of the distinctions without diji'' 
rence upon which the jarring sects of Christians wrangle 
among themselves, we pass now from the comparison of the 
doctrines of what has been called divine Revelation, with 
the previously existing tenets and dogmas of Paganism, 
to an examination of the no less striking resemblance of 
Pagan and Christian forms of worship. 

Priests, altars, temples, solemn festivals, melancholy 
grimaces, ridiculous attitudes, trinkets, baubles, bells, 
candles, cushions, holy water, holy wine, holy biscuit99 
holy oil, holy smoke, holy vestments, and holy books, 
state candlesticks, dim-painted windows,* chalices, sal- 

* In the most splendid chapel of the Methodists (Qaeen Street, Lincoln's 
Inn), the altar stands in a druulical alcore, upon which the light detcendl 
throuf^h yellow glass, to give to the countenance of their priests such a death- 
like tinge, as might make them seem to be standing under the immediate UUpses 
of inspiration, '' Creatures not of this earth, and yet being on it." 


ymts, pictures, tablets, achieremeDts, music, flee are found 
in various modifications and arrangements, not only in 
tiie sanctuaries of the Roman Catholic communion, but 
0ome or other, or all of them, even in methodistical con- 
Tenticles, or in Unitarian pagodas supposed to be at the 
ftrthest remove from any intended adoption of the Pagan 
and Papal ceremonies. 

We have seen the pontifical mitre, the augural staff, 
the keys of Janus, and the Capitoline chickens, em- 
Uazoned on the armorial bearings, not of Popish, but of 
our Protestant bishops. The religious faction that seemed 
very reasonably to object to the ** pomps and vanities of 
this sinfal world/' while in the possession of those who 
had corrupted the pure faith of Christianity, very meekly 
and consistently take upon themselves the burthen of three 
times the revenues of that corrupt church.* Those who 
were shocked at so flagrant a violation of the precepts of 
their divine Master, as that of the bishop of Rome, who 
styled himself servant of' the servants of God, were content 
to be known only as — Uight Reverend and Most Reverend 
Fathers in God, His Grace the Lord Archbishop, Bishop, 
Prelate, Metropolitan, and Primate, next in precedency 
to the blood royal, &c. &c. We have only to hope that 
Lactantim might have carried the matter too far where he 
says, that *' among those who seek power and gain from 
their religion, there will never be wanting an inclination 
to forge and to lie for it."t 

" That Popery has borrowed its principal ceremonies 
and doctrines from the rituals of Paganism," is a fact 
which the most learned and orthodox of the established 
<^urch have most strenuously maintained and moj>t con- 
vincingly demonstrated. 

That Protestantism has borrowed its principal cere- 
monies and doctrines from the rituals of Popery, is a fact 
which the most learned and orthodox of the Catholic 
church as strenuously maintain, and as convincingly 
demonstrate. The conclusion, that Christianity is al- 
together Paganish, is as inevitable, as that if it be to be 
found neither among Catholics nor Protestants, there can 
be no such thing upon earth. 


AlS worn by all our Protestant clergy, was the dress of the 
Pagan priesthood in a part of their public officiations, 

* See the Table of Ecclesiastical Revenues. t Lactant. De fals. Relig. 1. 4. 


and is so described by the satirist Juvenal,'^ and the poet 
Ovid.f It was the peculiar habiliment of the priests of 
Isis ; and Isis herself being believed to have been the in- 
ventress of linen, of which these surplices are made, her 
effeminate priests were distinguished from more manly 
imposters by the still-applicable epithet of surplice or 
linen- wearers. Silius, however, speaking of the rites used 
in the Gaditan Temple of Hercules, instructs us that the 
priests of Hercules were also distinguished by wearing 
the white surplice. ^' They went barefoot, practised 
chastity, had no statues, wore white linen surplices, and 
paid tithe to Hercules;" that is, they were liberal in 
subscriptions to keep up the system that kept them up. 


Water, wherein the person is baptized in the name of the 
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. — Church of 
England Catechism. 

THE baptismal FONT 

In our Protestant churches, and we can hardly say more 
especially the little cisterns at the entrance of our Catholic 
chapels, are not imitations, but an unbroken and never 
interrupted continuation of the same aquaminaria or 
amula, which the learned Montlaucon, in his Antiquities, 
shows to have been vases of holy water, which ?r ,. 
placed by the heathens at the entrance of their tvuiphs, r - 
sprinkle themselves with vpon (tdcrlnpr iUoh' sacred cdijixf. 
" .A^.d \<\k\\ jniM' ilew.s sj) ill kicd, enter the temples. '; 
f/.irjpi<'">j •i»'r...:s only in ]>urii|»hntsc in our Heb. x. ;i:;i, 
' L( t u.> ♦.lr;u> nvai with a true heart, having our hearts 
-piiiikiea from an evil conscience, and our bodies trashed 
with pure water." The same vessel was called by the 
Greeks the sprinkler,^ Two of these, the one of gold, the 
other of silver, were given by Croesus to the temple of Apollo 
at Delphi. Justin Martyr, the second in succession of the 
Christian Fathers, next to those who are called apostolic, 
says, that " this ablution, or wash, was invented by 
demons, in imitation of the true baptism, that Me/r votaries 

* Qui grcffe liniger circumdatus et grege calvo. — Juv, 6. 3. 

+ Nunc l)ea linipeiA colitur rclcborrinia lurbjl. — Ovid. Met* 1. 74(5. 

X Kabapous 5e hpotrois 

'A<pvhp€U'afi9yoi (nux^Tf vat!%. 

§ Ufpippayrtipiov. 


vigbt abo have their pretended purifications by water/'* 
There certainly must have been something supematurally 
ingenious in the inventions of these diabolical imitators, 
who always contrived to be the authors of the very first 
specimens of what they imitated^ and to get their imita- 
tions into full vogue before the originals from which they 
copied were in existence. The " sanctification of water 
to the mystical washing away of sin^" and in signification 
of ** a death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness/' 
had not only been used, but most abundantly abused^ 
before its original institution as a Christian sacrament ; 
as we find O^ in verse^f and the best and wisest of the 
whole human race^ Cicero^ in his philosophical writings, 
severely rebuking the egregious absurdity of expecting 
moral improvement from any such foolish and contempt- 
ible superstitions. 

The form of the aspergillum, or sprinkling-brush, as used 
by the clergy of the Catholic communion in sprinkling our 
-Christian congregations, is yet to be seen in bas-reliefs and 
ancient coins, wherever the insignia or emblems of the 
Pagan priesthood are described. It may be seen at this 
day on a silver coin of Julius Caesar, as well as on the 
coins of many other emperors. The severe ridicule and 
sarcasm heaped by our Protestant clergy on their Catholic 
brethren, for extending the benefit of these mysterious 
sprinklings to their horses, asses, and other cattle, would 
come with a better grace, if they themselves would explain 
what there is of a more rational and dignified significancy 
in sprinkling new-bom infants, who, in the eye of reason 
and common sense, might seem as little capable of receiv- 
ing any benefit from the ceremony as the brute creation. 

The ancient Pagans had especial gods and goddesses who 
presided over the birth of infants. The goddess Nundina 
took her name from the ninth day, on which all male chil- 
dren were sprinkled with holy water, as females were on 
the eighth, at the same time receiving their Pagan name ; 
of which addition to the ceremonial of Christian baptism, 
we find no mention in the Christian Scriptures. When all 
the forms of the Pagan nundinatiou were duly complied 

* Kcu TO XnTpoy hi raro oKWam^s oi icufioyts Hia ra vpo^^a K&ctipvxitMvov. 
mntprpiativ kcu p<xvrigtiy tavres ras cif ra upa aurtrnf rwifiaunvras, — Just* Mart. 
Apol, I, p. 91, edit. Thirlb. 

'^ Ah minium faciles qui tristia crimina csdia 

Flumine& tolli pot»c putetis aqua. — Ovid. Fast. 2. 45. 
At animi labes ui'c diutcrnitatc evanesccrc nee uUis amols clui potest.— Ctc^o. 



with, the priest gavo a certificate to the parents of the M- 
generated infant ; it was thencefortli dnly recognised as a 
legitimate member of the family and of society, and tiie 
day was spent in feasting and hilarity. 

Pae^^imile of a Pagan Certu 
ficate of Nundination. 

I certify yoa, that in this case 
all is well done^ and according- 
unto dne order, concerning the 
nnndination of this child, who, 
heing bom in original sin, and 
in the wrath of God, is now, by 
the laver of regeneration in 
baptism, received into the num- 
ber of the children of God, and 
heirs of the right of life. 

Arcan, Prohahilium. 

Certificate of Bapiitm. 

I certify yon, that in this 
case all is well done, and ae- 
cording mito due order, con- 
cerning the baptizing of this 
child, who, being bom id ori- 
ginal sin, and in the wrath of 
God, is now,-by the laver of re* 
P^neration in baptism, received 
mto the number of the children 
of God, and heirs of everlastii^ 
life. — Church of England Bap* 
tismal Service, 

The old stories and impostures of the ancient Pasanism, and 
the new versiom of them, as adopted and sanctifiedoy thefaUh 
of Christian believers, may be compared by juxta-positioHt 
thus — 


Cicero, concerning the origin 
of divination, relates — 

That a man being at plough 
in a certain field of Etruria, 
and happening to strike his 
plough somewhat deeper than 
ordinary, there started up be- 
fore him, out of the furrow, a 
Deity, whom they called Tage9. 
The ploughman, terrified by so 
strange an apparition, made 
such an outcry, that he alarmed 
all his neighbours, and in a short 
time drew the whole country 
around him ; to whom The God, 
in the hearing of them all, ex- 
plained the whole art and mys- 
tery of divination: which all 
their writers and records affirmed 
to be the genuine origin of that 


The whole collegiate dkureh 
^f regular canons, concerning 
the origin of St. Mary of Ibb- 
pruneta,* relate — 

When the inhabitants of /m- 
pruneta had resolved to bm'ld 
a church to the Virgin, aod 
were digging the foundations 
of it with great zeal, on a spot 
marked out to them by heaveo, 
one of the labourers happened 
to strike his pickaxe against 
something under ground, from 
which there issued presently a 
complaining voice or groan. 
The workmen being greatly 
amazed, put a stop to their 
work for a while ; but having 
recovered their spirits, after 
some pause they ventured to 

Impruucta, a small town six miles from Florence. 


fUneipliae for whieh the old open the place from which the 
jTu^eans were afterwards so voice came, and found <&emtra«' 
j|linou«.-— Ctc. de Z>itnn. 2. 28. ctUowt image. This is delivered 
Cicero, faowevery sabjoioSy that by their writers, not grounded, 
to attempt to confute such as they say, on vulgar fame, but 
ctoria$ would be as ^illy as to on public records and histories, 
believe them. confirmed by a perpetual series 

of miracles — Mxddleton's Pref, 
Disc, to Letter from Rome, 

Our modem Iconoclasts* will be ready to cry out, that 
the asserters of these popish stories were no Christians : 
not seeing the dilemma they rush on, in subjecting diem* 
selves to the utterly unanswerable challenge. Who then 
were Chrisiiaml Let them strike from their list, if they 
please, all the writers whose faith and credibility has been 
pawned and forieited on stories, — than which the best are 
Iban this — no better ; let them joiI^the laugh against their 
Eusebius, for taking owls for angels ; their St. Augustin, 
lor preaching the gospel to a whole nation of men and 
women that had no heads ; their Origen, for being a priest 
of the goddess Cybele and of Jesus Christ at the same 
time ; their TertuUian, for believing the resurrection of 
Christ, because it v^Bls impossible; their Gregory for writ- 
ing letters to the Devil, yes ! and their great Protestant 
reformer Martin Luther, for seriously believing, that the 
Devil ran away with children out of their cradles and put 
his own imps in their places. And then produce all the 
testimonies they shall have left, of the existence of a re- 
ligion that was not essentially and absolutely pagan, at 
any time before the period of dieir pretended reformation. 

The only difference was, that Jupiter was turned into 
Jehovah, Apollo into Jesus Christ, Venus's pigeon into 
the Holy Ghost, Diana into the Virgin Mary, a new no- 
vaenclature was given to the old materia theologica : the 
demigods were turned into saints; the exploits of the one 
were represented as the miracles of the other ; the pagan 
temples became Christian churches ; and so ridiculously 
accommodating were the converters of the world to the 
prejudices of their pagan ancestors and neighbours, that 
we find, that for the express and avowed purpose of ac* 
commodating matters that the change might be the less 
offensive, and the old superstition as little shocked as 
possible, they generally observed some resemblance of 
quality and character in the saint whom they substituted 

* Image-breakera. 


to the old deity. '* If in coDTerting the profane woT st dp 
of the Gentiles to the pure and sacred worship of the 
churchy the faithful were wont to follow some rule and 
proportion, they have certainly hit upon it here, (at Rome) 
in dedicating to the Virgin Mary, the temple formerly 
sacred to the Bona Dea, or Good Goddess/** In a place 
formerly sacred to Apollo, there now stands the Church of 
Saint Apollinaris, built there, as they tell us, in order that 
the profane name of that Deity might be converted into 
the glorious name of this martyr. 

Where there anciently stood the temple otMars, they have 
erected a Church to Saint Martina, with this inscription, 

Man hence expelled ; Martina martyr'd maid 
Claims now the worship which to him was paid.t 

It is certain that in the earlier ages of Christianity, the 
Christians often made free with the sepulchral stones of 
heathen monuments^ which being ready cut to their hands, 
they converted to their own use, and turning downwards 
the side on which the old epitaph was engraved, used 
either to inscribe a new one on the other side, or leave it 
perhaps without any inscription at all. This has fre- 
quently been the occasion of ascribing martyrdom and 
saintship to persons and names of mere Pagans. 


The noblest heathen temple now remaining in the 
world, is the Pantheon or Rotunda, which, as the inscrip- 
tion over the portico informs us, having been impiously 
dedicated of old by Agrippa to Jove and all the Gods, 
was piously reconsecrated by Pope Boniface the Fourth, 
to the Mother of God and all the Saints.}: 

* Si nel riToltare 11 profano calto de genttli nel sacro e vero, oisenrarono I 
fedeli qtialche proportione, qui la ritrovarono assai conreniente nel dedicare a 
Maria virgine un tcmpio, ch*era della Bona Dea. — Rum, Med. Gior. 2. RUm di 
Biua, 10. 

t The iuscriptioQ of course w in Latin, and this it is — 
Martyrii gestant yirgo Martina coronam 
Ejecto hinc Martis numina Templa tenet. 

t The inscription is — 







Imeriptions in Pagan Tempies,^ ImeripHont in Christian Churehe».^ 


To Mercury and Minenra, 
Tutelary Gods. 


To the Gods who predde over this 



To the Divinity of Mercury, 

the aTailing, the powerful, 

the unconquered. 



To the Gods 

and Goddesses 


Jo¥e the Best and the Greatest. 


Apollo's Head, 

surrounded with rays of glory. 


The mystical letters 


surrounded with rays of glory. 


To St. Mary and St Francis, 

My Tntelaries. 


To the Dirine Eustorgins, 

who presides over this Temple. 

To the Divinity of St. George, 
the availing, the powerful, 
the unconquered. 



To the presiding helpers, 

St. George and Siu Stephen, 

God the Best and Greatest. 


Venus's Pigeon, 
surrounded with rays of glory. 


The mjTstical letters 


surrounded with rays of glory. 

Aringhus, in his accoant of subterraneons Rome, 
acknowledges this conformity between the Pagan and 
Christian forms of worship, and defends the admission of 
the ceremonies of heathenism into the service of the 
church, by the authority of the wisest prelates and go- 
▼emors, who found it necessary, he says, in the conversion 
of the Gentiles, to dissemble and winkf at many things, 
and yield to the times ; and not to use force against cus- 
toms which the people were so obstinately fond of, nor to 
think of extirpating at once every thing that had the 
appearance of profane, but to supersede in some mea- 
sure the operation of the sacred laws, till these converts 

* I. Mercurio etMinervae, Dlis * 1. Marie et Francisce, Tutelarea 

Tntelarih. mei. 

2. Dii qui huic templo praesident. 2. Divo Eustorgio, qui huic templo 

3. Numini Mercurii, pollenti, potenti, 3. Numini Divi Georgii, pollend, 
invicto. potenti, invicto. 

4. Diis Deahus que cum Jove. 4. Divis praestitihus juvantibus, Georgio 

Stephanoquc, cum Deo Opt. Max. 
Gfuter*s iMcripiions. Boldoniui's Epigrnpks. 

+ '^ yind the times of this ignorance God winked at."* — Acts xvii. 30. 

S88 sesemblakcb: 

convinced by degrees^ and infonned of the wIh^ tnith, 
by the suggestions of the Holy Spirit^ should be content 
to submit in earnest to the yoke of Christ.* 

The reader will do himself the justice of collating Uiis 
admission with the same accommodating policy of St 
Gregory^ adduced in our Chapter of Admissions, p. 4B. 


The last of ten thousand features of resemblance be- 
tween Paganism and Christianity, which might be adduced 
to establish their absolute identity, which we shall care to 
notice, is the striking coincidence that the Christian person- 
ages, like the Pagan deities, were frequently created by er- 
rors of language, mistakes of noun substantives for prop^ 
names, ignorance of the sense of abbreviated words, sub- 
stitution of one letter for another, &c. &c. so that words 
which had only stood for a picture, a cloak, a high-road, 
a ship, a tree, 8cc. in their original use, were passed over 
in another language as names of gods, heroes, saints, and 
martyrs, when no such persons had ever existed. Thus 
have we a Christian church erected to Saint Ampkibolus, 
another to Saint Viar — Christian prayers addressed to 
the holy martyr Saint Veronica ; and Chrestus adored as 
a god, by the ignorance that was not aware that 

Amphibolm was Greek for a cloak ; 

Viar. abbreviated Latin for a prefectus Viarum, or over- 
seer of the highways ; 

Vera Icon, half Latin and half Greek for true image ; and 

Chrestus t the Greek in Roman letters for any good 
and useful man or thing. 

* Ac maximi sabinde pontificet quam plarima prima quidem fade diaiditt- 
landa duxfsre, optimam scilicet rati tempori deferendam ease ; suadebant (piippe 
«ibi, baud ullam adversus gentilitios ritus Tim, utpote qui mordicus a fidelmos 
retioebantar, adhibendam esoe ; neqae ullatemis enitendmii, at qaicqald pro- 
fanos saperet mores, omnino tolleretur, quinimo quam maxima utendum leni- 
tate, sacrarumque legam ex parte intenuittendum imperium arbitrabantiir^- 
Tom l,lib. l,c.2l. 

t Thb mistake originates in what is called the " Iotacism» which consists in 
pronouncing the i like ri. The modern Greeks gire them both the sound of the 
Italian J or English E. This prevailed much in Egypt, and hence is frequently 
seen to take place in the Alexandrine MSS. Hence also Xduttos and X/nyoYvr 
have been confounded ; and Suetonius has written, " Judsos impnlsore Chrbsto 
aasidnd tumultuantes Romk expulit." — Elsley^sAnmoiatUnaon the GetpeU, vol. 1, 

p. XXX. 

But surely this will read quite as well if taken exactly the other way. It was 
as easy for the Christian-evidence roanofacturers to change £ into I, as for 
Suetonius to have changed I into E. 


Notwithstanding the idiof s dream of an imaginary pre- 
Protestant state of Christianity, or of Christianity in its 
primitive parity, ere what are called the corruptions of the 
xtomish church had mingled with and defiled the stream, 
our Protestant historians are not able to make good their 
evidence of the existence of Christianity, in any time or 
place, in separation from the most exceptionable of those 
corruptions. Never was there the day or the hour in 
which Christianity was, and its corruptions were not. The 
thing of supposable rational evidence, historical fact, sub- 
lime doctrines, moral precepts, and practical utility, which 
we hear of in the coxcomb-divinity of an Unitarian chapel, 
is a perfect ens rationis, the beau ideal of conceit, tiiat 
never had its type in history. Though the most accurate 
calculations satisfactorily prove that not more than a 
twentieth part of the 'Roman empire had embraced the 
Christian name before the conversion of Constantine, yet 
on the occasion of that prince's death, his historian, Euse- 
Irius,* tells us oi masses which were celebrated, and prayers 
which were said for bis soul in the Apostle's churcn, as a 
thing of course, and in a way in which it was impossible 
that such performance of mass and prayers for uie dead 
could have been spoken of, had there been any contrary 
doctrine or practice known to Christ's church, of higher 
antiquity or of better sanction than they. 





The first of the Orphicf Hymns is addressed to the 
goddess lipodvpoLa, or the Door-keeper^ and as it is perhaps 
the most ancient monument extant of the adoration paid 
to the deity who was supposed to preside over dMd-births, 
and whom the Romans afterwards called Juno Ludna, or 
Diana Lucina," I present the reader with a literal transla- 
tion of it, which I find ready made to my hand, in Park- 
hursf s Hebrew Lexicon : — 

* Enseb. Hist, ol CoiMtantiae, book 4, ch. 71. 
t OrphoQt, or nthcr OnoaMeritai, Hfed MO b. c. 


" To PROTHYRiEA, the Incense, Storax. 

"Hear me,0 venerable gocldess,clemon with many names,* 
aid in travail, sweet hope of child-bed women. Saviour of 
females, kind friend to infants, speedy deliverer, propitioos 
to youthful nymphs, Prothyresa! Key-bearer, gracioos 
nonrisher, gentle to all, who dwellest in the houses of aU, 
delightest in banquets! Zone-looser, secret, but in thy 
works to all apparent ! Thou sympathisest with throes, 
but rejoicest in easy labours ; Ilithyria, in dire extremi- 
ties, putting an end to pangs; thee alone parturient 
women invoke, rest of their souls, for in thy power are 
those throes that end their anguish, Artemis, Ilythyria, 
reveretid Protht/riBa. Hear, immortal dame, and grant us 
offspring by thy aid, and save us, as thou hast always 
been the Saviour ofallT — Lexicon, under the word D^B— 
to bring forth or be delivered.f 

A free poetical version of an hymn to Diana, expressive 
of her attributes, as generally believed and worshipped 
about the time of St. Paul, to the measure of the SicUan 
Mariner's Hymn :— 


Great is Diana of the Ephesians.**'^ Acts xix. 34. 


Great Diana! huntress queen ! 
Goddess bright, august, serene ! 
In thy countenance dirine 
HeaTen*s eternal glories shine. 

Thou art holy ! thou alone. 
Next to Juno, fiU'st the throne ! 
Thou for us on earth wast seen — 
Thou, of earth and heay'n the queen ! 

They to thee who worship pay. 
From thy precepts nerer stray ; 
Chaste they are, and just and pure, 
And from fatal sins secure ; 

* And what was to hinder the blessed Virgin Mary from being one of the 
names of this demon ? Godfrey Higgins, Esq. in his most instructire and inte* 
resting History of the Celtic Druids, published A. D. 1827, states that he counted 
upwards of forty different names under the image of the Virgin at Loretto. — 
p. 109. 

t The reader will observe, that as the distinguishing attributes of the Pagan 
divinities were represented in their statues, it was absolutely impossible ^at 
this Divine Virgin, kind friend to in/ants, could be symbolized otherwise than 
as with a child in her arms. But such a representation could not possibly sym- 
bolize or distinfritish the mother of Jesus from any other mother! 


Peace of mind 'tis their'f to know. 
To thy blessed sway who bow ; 
Chastest body, purest mind— 
Will, to will of God resignM ; 
Conqaest over griefs and cares ; 
Peace — for ever peace, is their's. 

bright goddess ! once again 
Fix on earth thy hea^'nly reign ; 
Be thy sacred name ador'd. 
Altars rais'd, and rites restor'd ! 

But if long contempt of thee 
Move thy sacred deity 
This so fond request to slight, 
Beam on me, on me, thy light. 

Thy adoring vot'ry, 1 
In thy faith will lire and die ; 
And when Jove's supreme command 
Calls me to the Stygian strand, 

1 no fear of death shall know, 
But with thee contented go : 
Thou my goddess, thou my guide. 
Bear me through the fatal tide ; 

Land me on th* Elysian shore. 
Where nor sin, nor grief is more — 
Life's eternal blest abode. 
Where is virtue, where is God." 

First jniblithed in the Author's Clerical Review^ in Ireland, 


There is a most beautiful prayer of the Pagan Simplicius, 
generally given at the end of Epictetus's Enchiridion, and 
almost die model of that used in oar Communion Service, 
" O Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires 
known," &c. The ideas are precisely the same ; the words 
and the machinery alone are a little varied. I find a ready- 
made poetical version of this, in Johnson's Rambler, 

'' O thou, whose pow'r o'er moving worlds presides. 
Whose voice created, and whose wisdom guides ! 
On darkling man in pure effulgence shine. 
And cheer the clouded mind with light divine. 
'Tis thine alone, to calm the pious breast 
With nlent confidence and holy rest. 
Prom thee, great Jove ! we spring, to thee we tend. 
Path, Motive, Gtade, Qrigiaa], aiid End 1" 

242 sPEcmuNS op pagan piety. 

<< There is one God, and there is none other but he.*' — ^Bfark. xii. 33. 

'^ Grod is neither the object of sense 9 nor snbject to 
passion, but invisible, only intelligible, and supremely 
intelligent. In his body he is like the light, and in hisB 
soul he resembles truth. He is the universal spirit that 
pervades and diffiiseth itself over all nature. All beings 
receive their life from him. There is but One only God! ! 
who is not, as some are apt to imagine, seated above the 
world beyond the orb of the universe ;* but being himself 
all in all, he sees all the beings that fill his immensity, the 
only principle, the light of heaven, the Father of all. He 
produces every thing, he orders and disposes every thing; 
he is the reason, the life, and the motion of all beings.'' — 
Dr, Collyer's Lectures, quoted by G. Higgins, Esq. Celtic 
Druids, 4to. p. 126. 

Mr. Higgins, adducing this bit of Paganism, 
^' How beautiful!" But surely he would not think of 
putting these unsancti/ied notions of the Deity on a footing 
with the sublime description of the evangelical poet 
Dr. Watts, who, knowing so much more about God than 
Pythagoras did, tells us, 

** His nostrils breathe out fiery streams, 
He's a consuming^ fire ; 
His jealous eyes his wrath inflame. 
And raise his vengeance highW / /" 

Watts's Hymmt, book 1, hymn 49. 

The consolations and advantages which the Christiaii 
derives from the blessed light of the Grospel may be best 
appreciated by thus comparing them with the darkness oJP 
Paganism : 

** So lies the snow upon a raven*s back !" 


Of these, 1 supply a free poetical version, by the father 
of the late Mr. John Adams, of Edmonton, to whom I 

• This sentiment of Pythagoras, so many years before the Christian era, is 
evidently the correction of some grosser form of dcmouolatry, which had pre- 
vailed in the heathen world before the time of Pythagoras, and which had bten 
expressed in such words as ** Our Father j which art in heaven," &c. 


owe my prijna elemetUa of literature. The Greek text is 

'* Let not soft alumber close thine eyes, 
Before thou recoUectest thrice 
Thy train of actions through the day : 
' Where have my feet found out their way ? 
What have I learn *d, where'er Tve been, 
From all I've heard, from all I've seen ? 
What know I more that's worth the knowing ? 
What have I done that's worth the doing ? 
What have I sought that I should shun ? 
What duty have I left undone ? 
Or into what new follies run ?' 
These self-inquiries are the road 
That leads to virtue and to God." 


The result of the learned researches of the pious Sir 
William Jones was, his established conviction ** that a 
connection existed between the old idolatrous nations of 
Egypt, India, Greece, and Italy, long before the birth 
of Moses.'' — Asiatic Researches, vol. 1, p. 271. 
. ** The philosophic Baillie has remarked, that every thing 
in China, India, and Persia, tends to prove that these 
countries have been the depositaries of science, not its 


Dr. Mosheim has proved the establishment of the 

Therapeutan monks at Alexandria before the time when 
Christ is said to have been on earth ; and that these 
Therapeutan monks were professors of the Eclectic Phi- 
losophy, avowedly collecting and bringing together the 
best tenets of moral philosophy which could be gathered 
from all the various systems of the world. They were, for 
this purpose, as well as to extend their power and influ- 
ence, mighty travellers, and could not have failed of 
visiting China. Among the maxims which Kan-futz-see, 

* Mi}S* vwuoif fJuLKcucouriy eir ofifuuri irpoalk^curBai 
Upi¥ Tw rtfjLtpiyvv tpyuy rpis tKwnov €W9K$€Uf : 
Uri iraptfhiy ; ti 8*cpc{a ; Tt fiot S^oy ovk crcAc<r0iy ; 
hp^aixwos ^earo irponov eirt^iBi. Koc fureirtira 
AciAa fi§y ticirfni^as, firtirAi}<r(rcOy jcffiora 8c t^pnrov, 

i" Mr. Higf^ina on the Celtic Druids, p. 52. On p. 45 of which, see ''a 
lainentable example in the case of Sir A^liam Jones himself, of the power of 
reBgioiis bigotry to corrupt the mind of even the best of men." The moral 
Minbijities of this great man could better abide the consciousness of the most 
wilful and scandalouH misrepresentation, than to be just to the character of an 
adreraary. Such are the triumphs of the Goipel 1 



or C!oiifacius, the great Chinese philosopher^ who had 
floarished about 500 years before the birth of Chrisl» hsd 
left to that people, was the Golden Rule of doing onto 
others as '' you would they should do nnto you/' 

This, the Therapeuts, adopted into their Moral Gno- 
mologue, or put into the mouth of the Demon of the 
DiEGESis, from whence it passed into the copies or 
epitomes of the Diegesis, which have been falsely taken 
for the original compositions of Matthew, Mads, and 

Depending, as we necessarily must, on a translation, 
(for who that had to learn any thing else, could learn the 
language of the Chinese ?) I follow Uie edition by Josepbas 
Tela, reprinted from the edition of 1691 ; and coUatiag 
this by ^e text of the New Testament, the reader will see 
that not only the idea is precisely the same, but the 
rhythmus, manner, and manner of connection, are pre- 
cisely the same, beyond the solution of any hjrpothaus, 
but that the latter is a plagiarism. 

Confucius, St. Matthew, 

Maxim 24th. Chapter yi. verse 18. 

Do to another what you Therefore, all things whil- 
would he should do unto you ; soever ye would that wtm 
and do not unto another what should do to you, do ye eian 
you would not should be done so to them ; for tUs is the law 
unto you. Thou only needest and the prophets, 
this law alone ; it is the founda- 
tion and principle of all the 

The abridged form and more smoothly constnieied 
sentence, according to canons of criticism already laid 
down,* demonstrates the later composition conaeqnentiy 
the plagiarism. 



After having fairly considered and compared the strikhig 
features of resemblance which subsist between the Pagfot 
and Christian doctrines, and also between the Pagan and 

* See Canon 8, p. Ill, of tide Dibobsis. 


CBABOB8. 946 

Olffistiaii forms of worship, and given due weight to the 
admissions which Christian divines and historians have 
BMMle touching that resemblance ; our method requires that 
we should take some account of such of the charges which 
tibflfar early enemies brought against them, as their fairness 
ktts transmitted, or their inadvertency has suffered to 
eg cap e and come down to posterity. 

we can never lose from this calculation, the plumb 
dead weight which Christians themselves have thrown into 
the adverse scale, by those arts of suppressing facts^ 
alifling testimony, preventing the coming-up of evidence, 
persecuting witnesses, and destroying or perverting the 
doeoments that were from time to time adduced against 
dMOU, of which they stand convicted by the concurrent 
testimony of all parties, and their own reiterated avowals, 
lUl often themselves '' glorying in their shame," and 
boasting of having promoted the cause of truth, by frauds 
and sophistications of which their heathen adversaries 
would have been ashamed. 

Were we in full possession, as in reason and fairness 
we ou^t to have been, of the writings of Porphyry, 
Celeus, Hierocles, and other distinguished and conscien- 
tbiis opponents of the Christian faith ; as they wrote 
themselves, and not as their adversaries were pleased to 
wiite for them, suffering them only to seem to make such ob- 
jections as were ridiculous or weak in themselves, or such 
as Christian writers found themselves most easily able to 
answer ; the probability is, that the whole apparatus of 
Christian evidence would be beaten off the field ; and we 
AMdd be able to give the fullest and most satisfactory 
eoqilanation of those apparent defects in the manner by 
wUch those who held Christianity to be an imposture, 
aught to have assailed it, which cannot be ascribed to their 
dcmciency of shrewdness, or insincerity of hostility. 

We see even in our own days, and the author of this 
work experiences in his own person, in the endurance of an 
unjust and cruel imprisonment,* and still to be continued 
bondage of five years after the term of that imprisonment 
diall have expired, what sort of justice Christians would 
be likely to show to the arguments of their opponents. 
Were they orators whose powers of declamation their 
Christian adversaries must have despaired to cope with ? 
Why, their persons could be Oakhamized. Were they 

* This work was compoied in Oakham Gaol. 

* 246 CUAMGB8. 

writers whose diligence of research, fidelity of statement^ 
and strength of argument, could not be equalled ? Why, 
their writings could be suppressed, or kept back as maoh 
as possible from public knowledge ; and then, to be sure, 
their Christian adversaries, in the guaranteed security 
that all that should be heard, and all that should be recdt 
should be their preachings and writings only, would not 
only represent their opponents as the most contemptiUe 
orators and weakest reasoners in the world, bat cooU 
father them with such miserable specimens of eloquence, 
and such jejune and feeble objections, as Origen would 
exhibit as the composition of Celsus, and as EuseUus has 
invented for Porphyry. It was never to be endured by 
Christians, that an orator who opposed their faith shoakl 
be believed to have been eloquent, or that a writer 
who confuted their opinions, should be thought to be 



That THB Christian Scriptures were plagi- 
TURES, is the specific and particular charge which the 
early opponents of Christianity ought to have brought 
against it, if that charge were tenable. The apparent 
vot bringing forward of such a charge leaves in the hands of 
the advocates of Christianity, the presumption that such 
a charge was not tenable; and ergo, that the Christian 
Scriptures were the original compositions of 
the persons to whom Christians themselves 
ascribed them. 

the answer. 

To this, which is the pith of the whole argument, it is 
answered, 1st. That though the charge had been tenable, 
it could not, from its own nature, have been brought for- 
ward, before the Christians had first brought forward a 
pretence that they were in possession of original Scrip- 
tures, and had permitted it to be generally known what 
those Scriptures were. But that pretence was not made till 
after the Christian religion had been preached and estab- 
lished, and a large number of converts already made* 

* '' Lardoer shows advantaget arising from a late publicaUon of the Gospels. 
It was first requisite, he states, that the religion should be preached and 
€ttablished, and a large number of conycrts made. The apostles, 8a3r8 Enaebios, 
spread the Gospel over the world $ nor were they (at the first) much coQccmed 


without reference to, or any use made, or even the pre- 
tended existence of any Christian writings at all, nor till 
after the period when St Paul says the Gospel had already 
been " preached to every creature under heaven." * 

After the substance of the matter which had thus 
attained extensive prevalence and general belief before it 
was committed to writings of any sort, appeared in written 
documents, it is not only not likely that the people who 
liad been already ** rooted and built up in the faith'' 
without any service or help of such writings, should have 
much valued or sought for means of grace that they had 
so long done without ; but it is absolutely certain that 
Uiey continued to do without them ; nor was it at any time 
within the three first centuries, that the general community 
of Christians were permitted to know what the contents 
of their Scriptures were. 

And 2ndly. When the time had arrived that the charge 
of plastarism against the Christian Scriptures, if tenable, 
should have been brought forward, the priests, in whose 
hands alone the Scriptures were to be found, had acquired 
such tremendous power and influence as to procure, by the 
decrees of Constantine and Theodosius, that all writings 
of Porphyry and others, that had been composed against 
the Christian faith, should be committed to the flames ; 
and happy was the writer who got out of the way time 
enough to escape the fate of his writings. 


** Among the various calumnies with which the wor- 
shippers of Christ were formerly assailed," says the learned 
Sebastian Kortholt,t '* the first place is justly given to 

to trri/tf, beiai^ engaged in a most exceUent ministry^ exceeding all human 
fonrer." — Eisley's Annot, vol. 1, p. II. What says reason ? 

• **lfye continue grounded and settled^ and be not moved away from the htpe 
«f the Uoxpelf which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature 
U nde r heaven, whereof /, Paul, am made a deacon,'* — Col. i. 23. Ow tywofxriv 
fTw RavKos 9taicovos. 

When will men learn to sec with their own eyes, and reason with their own 
onderstandings ?— 1 This Paul owns himself a deacon, the lowest ecclesiastical 
flvde of the Therapeutan church. 2. This epistle was written two years before 
any one of our gospels. 3- The gospel of which it speaks had been extensively 
preached and fully established before the reign of Augustus ! 

t Kortholti Paganus Obtrectator, Kiloni, a. d. 1698, p. 1 . In extracts from 
tills work, I claim the liberty of giving my own translation, without affixing 
Bore than the note of chapter and page from the original, except where there 
teems a strength in the original which the rendering might be tbougb to have 


the charge that they had biought in new and unheaid-^ 
rites^ and that they songht to contaminate the holy pniity 
of the religious ceremonies of antiquity, by the sapentition 
of their novelty.*' 


From this charge the Christians only attempted to vin- 
dicate themselves, by proving the most exact sameness 
and conformity of their doctrines and tenets to the jmrest 
and most respectable forms of the ancient idolatry: a 
mode of argument as serviceable to their cause, then, as in 
all inference of reason it is fatal now. Who would expect, 
among the very first and ablest advocates of a re^gion 
that had been revealed in the person of a divine prophet 
who had appeared in a province of the Roman empire, 
under the reign of the emperor Tiberius, such admissions 
as those of their Justin Martyr, that '' what we say of 
our Jesus Christ is nothing more than what yon say 
of those whom you style the sons of Jove? As to his 
being bom of a virgin, you have your Perseus to balance 
that ; as to his being crucified, there's Bacchus, Hercules, 
Pollux and Castor, to account for that ; and as to rijdng 
from the dead, and ascending into heaven, why, yon 
know, this is only what you yourselves ascribe to the 
souls of your departed emperors."* What short of an 
absolute surrender of all pretence to an existence dis- 
tinctive and separate from Paganism, is that never-to-be- 
forgotten, never-to-be-overlooked, and I am sure never- 
to-be-answered capitulation of their Melito, bishop of 
Sardis, in which, in an apology delivered to the emperor 
Marcus Antoninus, in the year 170,t he complains of 
certain annoyances and vexations which Christians were 
at that time subjected to, and for which he claims redress 
from the justice and piety of that emperor: first, on the 
score that none of his ancestors had ever persecuted the 
professors of the Christian faith, Nero and Domitian onfy, 
who had been equally hostile to their subjects of all per- 
suasions, having been disposed to bring the Christian 
doctrine into hatred; and even their decrees had been 
reversed, and their rash enterprises rebuked, by the godly 
ancestors of Antoninus himself" An absolute demon- 
stration this, that all the stories of persecution sufiered 
by Christians on the score of dieir religion are utterly 

* See this passage in its place and relerancy, in the Chapter on 

t See this also, under the head HielUo, in this DusoEtis. 

GHABOS8. 249 

untroe. And^ secondly, the good bishop daims the pa- 
tronage of the emperor for the Christian religion, wmdi 
he calls our philosophy^ " on account of its high antiquity^ 
as having been imported from countries lying beyond the 
limits of the Roman empire, in the reign of his ancestor 
Augustus, who had found its importation ominous of 
good fortune to his government." An absolute demon- 
stration this, that Christianity did not originate in Judea, 
which was a Roman province, but really was an exotic 
oriental fable, imported about that time from the barba- 
rians, and mixed up with the infinitely mongrel modifi- 
cations of Roman piety, till it outgrew the vigour of the 
stock on which it had been engrailed, and so came to 
give its own character entirely to the whole system. 

The adoption of the fabulous Chrishn A of the Hindus 
per conveyance of the Egyptian monks into the Roman 
empire, having taken place in or about the reign of 
Augustus, gave occasion to later historians to pretend 
that Christ was bom in the reign of Augustus; and to 
all that confusion which arises from the adversaries of 
Christianity charging it with novelty, while its earliest 
advocates challenge for it the highest and most remote 


In the edict of Diocletian, preserved in the fragments of 
Hermogenes, the Christians are called Manichees. It 
sufSciently appears that the Gentiles in general con- 
founded the Christians and Manichees, and that there 
really was no difierence, or appeared to be none, between 
the followers of Christ and of Manes. Let who will or 
can, determine the curious question, whether Manes and 
his followers were heretical seceders from Christianity, or 
whether those who afterwards acquired the name of Chris- 
tians, were heretics from the primitive sect of Manichees* 
The admitted fact of the existence of upwards of ninety 
different heresies, or manners and variations of the telling 
of the Gospel story, within the three first centuries, is 
proof demonstrative that there could have been no com- 
mon authority to which Christians could appeal, and, con- 
sequently, no Scriptures of higher claims than any of the 

* KortlioUi PaganuB ObtrecUtor, ch. 1. p. 5. Pertmet huic quod Oragmrhii 
Nazianzeniis aiBraiat, Chriitianam doctrinim Teterem nmol et noraiii 
Ibiden, p. 10. 


innumerable apocryphal versions, wherefram to collect 
their opinions, or whereby to decide their controversies. 
It is admitted by Mosheim, that the more intelligent among 
the Christian people in the third century had been taught, 
that true Christianity, as it was inculcated by Jesus, and 
not as it was afterwards corrupted by his disciples, differed 
in few points from the Pagan religion, properly explained 
and restored to its primitive purity ;* so that these good 
people very conveniently found the way of swimming 
with the tide, and were converted to Christianity, while 
they continued as staunch Pagans as ever. But this, of 
course, could be viewed by a modem advocate of Chris- 
tianity in no other light than as an invention of the enemy; 
however, it was neither a weak one in itself, nor unsuc- 
cessful in its issue. ^' Many were ensnared,'' says the 
Christian historian, ''by the absurd attempts of these in- 
sidious philosophers. Some were induced by these per- 
fidious stratagems to abandon the Christian religion, which 
they had embraced. Others, when they were taught to 
believe that Christianity and Paganism, properly under- 
stood, were virtually but one and the same religion, de- 
termined to remain in the religion of their ancestors, and 
in the worship of the gods and goddesses. A third sort 
were led, by these comparisons between Christ and the 
ancient philosophers, to form to themselves a motley 
system of religion, composed of the tenets of both parties, 
and paid divine honours indiscriminately to Christ and to 
Orpheus, to Apollonius, and the other philosophers and 
heroes, whose names had acquired celebrity in ancient 


Man I, properly so called, though more commonly Manes 
or Manichaeus, from whom the most important Christian 
sect that ever existed takes its designation, was by birth 
a Persian, educated amongst the Magi, or wise men of 
the East, and himself originally one of that order. 

The ecclesiastical historian Socrates gives us this ac- 
count of him: — 

" Not long before the reign of Constantino, there sprang 
up a kind of heathenish Christianity, which mingled itself 

*jMosheini, vol. 1, cent. 3, chap. 2. Collate herewith the terms of com- 
promise with Paganism offered by St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Gregory, and other 
holy popes. 


with the trae Christian religion ; for in those days the doc- 
trine of Empedocles, a heathen philosopher^ was clandes- 
tinely introduced into Christianity. One Scythianus, a 
Saracen, had married a captive woman, native of the 
upper Thebais, and upon her account he lived in Egypt. 
Having been instructed in the learning of the Egyptians^ 
he introduced the doctrine of Empedocles and Pythagoras 
into Christianity ; asserting the existence of two natures, 
the one good, the other evil, as Empedocles did, and call- 
ing the evil nature Neikos (Discord), and the good nature 
Philia (Friendship). Buddas, formerly namedTerebinthus, 
became a disciple of that Scythianus ; he travelled into 
Persia, where he told a great many strange stories of him- 
self, — as, that he was born of a virgin, and brought up in 
the mountains. Afterwards he wrote four books: one of 
which was entitled the Mysteries ; another thb Gospel ; a 
third Thesaurus^ or the Treasury ; the fourth a Summary. 
He pretended a power to work miracles ; but on one occa- 
sion, being on a high tower, the Devil threw him down, so 
that he brake his neck and died miserably.* The woman 
at whose house he had resided buried him, and succeed- 
ing to the possession of his property, bought a boy of seven 
years old, whose name was Cubricus. This youth she 
adopted ; and after having given him his freedom, and a 
good education, she bequeathed him all the estate she had 
derived from Terebinthus, and the books which he had 
written according to the instructions of Scythianus his 
master. With these possessions and advantages, upon 
the death of his patroness, Cubricus went into Persia, 
and changed his name into Manes, and there gave out the 
books which Terebinthus had thus composed, under the 
direction of his master Scythianus, as his own original 
works. These books bore a show and colouring of Christi- 
anity, but were in reality heathenish; for the impious 
Manes directs the worship of many gods, teaches that the 
Sun ought to be adored. He introduces the doctrine of fatal 
necessity, and denies the free agency of man. He openly 
teaches the transmigration of souls,f as held by Pytha- 

* The reader, who may find this entire passage in Dr. Lardner'f Credibility, 
vol.2, p. 141, will observe my variations from it. I take this liberty only upon 
the grounds of preference for my own translation of the original itself, which 
1 have on my table, and with which I compare the text of Lardner through 
every sentence. 

t The Pythagorean doctrines are still traceable in the Christian Scriptures : 
the Christ of St. John's Gospel is evidently a Pythagorean philosopher Ye nuut 
be born again (.John iii.) , is the characteristic aphorism of the PythagoreaA 


goras^ Empedocles, and the Egyptians. He denies that 
Christ was eyer really bom^ or had real human flesh, tmt 
asserts that he was a mere phantom. He rejects the law 
and the prophets, and calls himself the Paraclete or Com- 
forter. All which things are far from the true and right 
fiodth of the church of God. In his epistles he was not 
ashamed to entitle himself an apostle. At length his 
abominations met with their merited punishment" 

*f The son of the king of Persia happening to haye fallen 
into dangerous illness, his father, haying both heard of 
Manichaeus, and belieying bis miracles to be true, sent for 
him as an apostie, and belieyed that his son would by his 
means be restored. Upon his arriyal he takes the king^s 
son in hand, after the fashion of a conjuror.* But the king 
haying seen that the boy diedf under his hands, had him 
imprisoned, intending to put him to death ; but he made 
his escape, and came into Mesopotamia. The king of 
Persia, hearing that he was in those parts, sent after him, 
and, upon his second apprehension, had him flayed aliye.'* 
— ^This king of Persia was Varanes the First 

Notwithstanding the calumnies heaped on Manes, Dr. 
Lardner has shown that he was, in the best and strictest 
acceptation of the term, a sincere Christian, and has adduced 
many passages from bis writings equally honourable to 
his understanding and to his heart. Not only the learned 
Faustus,t Bishop of Meleyi in Africa, whose tremendous 
charge against the authenticity of our canonical Gospels 
we haye elsewhere giyen; but others, by far the most 
learned, intelligent, and yirtuous men that eyer professed 
and called themselyes Christians, were Manichaeans, and 
among these was the renowned St. Angus tin himself, till 
he found that higher distinctions and better emoluments 
were to be gained by joining the stronger party. Where- 
upon he left the poor presbytery of the Manichaean church, 
to become the orthodox bishop of Hippo Regius : and from 
thenceforth, with the zeal that always characterizes a 
turncoat he set himself to heap all the calumnies and mis- 
representations he possibly could upon that purer and 
more primitive Christianity which he had deserted ; awk- 

school. See the Chapter zxziii. entitled PmiAGoRAt, in this Dibobsis, 
p. 217. 

* Mcra T8 cviirXflurrs o^f^fiorof ^yx^ipiiertu rov, &c. Dr. Lardner cots me 
this knot with a skip in his rendering. 

i* Faustus flourished ahout a.d. 3§4 at the latest, and had been known to 
Angostin before that wily and mendadouf saint apostatized from Manidieiaoi to 


wardly enough confessing, that he himself should never 
have belieyed the Grospel, unless the authority of the 
church had induced him* {paid him) to do so. There 
are, I fear, more than nineteen out of any twenty bishops 
that could be named, who owe their orthodoxy at this day 
to the same sort of inducement. 



There were two very different opinions concerning 
Christ very early among Christians. Some, as Augustin 
says^t believed Christ to be God, and denied him to be 
man ; others believed he was a man, and denied him to 
be God. The former was the opinion of the Manichees, 
and of many others before them ; of others so early, in* 
deed, and so certainly, that Cotelerius, in a note on Igna- 
tius's Epistle to the Trallians, assures us that it would be 
as absurd as to question that the sun shone at mid-day^ 
to deny that the doctrine that taught that Christ's body 
was a phantom only, and that no such person as Jesus 
Christ had ever any corporeal existence, was held in the 
time of the apostles themselves.§ Ignatius, the apostolic 
Father, expressly censures this opinion, as having gained 
ground even before his time. ^' If, as some who are 
atheists — that is, unbelievers — say, that he only suffered 
in appearance,"||— an expression which, as Cotelerius ob- 
serves, plainly shows the early rise of this doctrine. 
And from the apostolic age downwards, in a never in- 
terrupted succession, but never so strongly and emphati- 
cally as in the most primitive times, was the existence of 
Christ as a man most strenuously denied. So that though 
nothing is so convenient to some persons as to assume 
airs of contempt, and to cry out diat those who deny that 

* Ego eFangdio neqom qmm crediderim nid ecclesia anctoritaf me oobudo- 
yenL-^jiMgutL ut cUai Mickaeiit, 

f Ait enim Chriitiif Deoi est tantnm, omnino hominU nihil habeni. Hoc 
Manichei dicnnt. Photiini, homo taatun. Manichei, Deoi tantam. — Augu^. 
Serm, 37, c. 12. 

X As abmtrd tu to fttediom that tht nm tkomef 4rc« Solem negaret merkUe 
Incere^ qui Docetas, een phantaiiirtM haereticos temporibiis apoBtolorom inS- 
daretar eniviaae.— Cvfel. md Ign. Ep, ad Trali. c. 10. 

^ Apostoiis adhoc in leculo fapentitibas, adhvc apud Jndttam ChristI saa- 
gniiie recently phantatma Dosdni corpus asserebatnr.— Hierofi. adv, iMdf. 7*. 4, 
p. 304. 

I El 3f Mnrtp timi oi^fM orrtf » tovt^mw tanrrotf Aryou^iy rp <Mttiv wfw wS iw m 
«vror ir.r.\v— /jpi. ud TruU, c. 10, ttputim. 


snch a person as Jesus of Nazareth ever existed, are ut- 
terly unworthy of being answered, and would fly in the 
&ce of all historical evidence, the fact of the case is, that 
the being of no other individual mentioned in history 
ever laboured under such a deficiency of evidence as 
to its reality, or was ever overset by a thousandth part 
of the weight of proof positive, that it was a creation of 
imagination only. 

To the question, then, On what grounds do you deny 
that such a person as Jesus Christ existed as a man T 
the proper answer is. 

Because his existence as a man has, from the earliest 
day on which it can be shown to have been asserted, 
been as earnestly and strenuously denied, and that, not 
by enemies of the Christian name, or unbelievers of the 
Christian faith, but by the most intelligent, most learned, 
most sincere of the Christian name, who ever left the 
world proofs of their intelligence and learning in their 
writings, and of their sincerity in their sufferings ; 

And because the existence of no individual of the 
human race, that was real and positive, was ever, by a 
like conflict of jarring evidence, rendered equivocal and 


It was distinctly charged against the early preachers 
of Christianity, that they had adopted and transferred to 
their own use the materials they found prepared to their 
hands, in the writings of the ancient poets and philoso- 
phers ; and by giving a very slight turn to the matter, 
and a mere change of names, had vamped up a patchwork 
of mythology and ethics, a mixture of the OrientaJ Gnos- 
ticism and the Greek Philosophy, into a system which 
they were for foisting upon the world as matter of a 
divine revelation that had been especially revealed to 
themselves. " All these figments of cracked-brained 
opiniatry and silly solaces played off in the sweetness of 
song by deceitful poets, by you too credulous creatures, 
have been shamefully reformed and made over to your 
own God."* Such is the objection of Coecilius, in the 
Octavius of Minucius Felix, written in dialogue, about 

* Omnia ista figmenta malesanae opinioais, ct inepta solatia, a poetic fal)a- 
dbas, in dulcedine carminis lusa, a robis nimium credulis in Denm restrum^ 
tnrpiter reformata sunt. — Minucim Felix in Apol, 


the year 211. A charge answered by admission, rather 
than denial, and corroborated by the never-to-be-forgotten 
fact, that the Egyptian Therapeuts in their university of 
Alexandria, where first Christianity gained an establish- 
ment, were professedly followers and maintainers of the 
Eclectic philosophy, which consisted in nothing else bat 
this very overt and avowed practice of bringing together 
whatever they held to be useful and good in all other 
systems ; and thus, as they pretended, concentrating all the 
rays of truth that were scattered through the world into 
the common centre of their own system. This is fully 
admitted by Lactantius, Arnobius, Clemens Alexandrinus, 
and Origen ; and denied by none who have ventured fear- 
lessly to investigate the real origin of Christianity. 


Porphyry,* whose very name is aconite to Christian 
intolerance, objects against Origen, that, being really a 
Pagan, and brought up in the schools of the Gentiles, 
he had, to serve his own ambitious purposes, contrived 
to turn the whole Pagan system, which he had first 
egregiously corrupted, into the new-fangled theology of 


Celsus, in so much of his work concerning the '^ trub 
Logos'' as Origen has thought proper to suffer posterity 
to become acquainted with, charges the Christians with a 
recoinage of the misunderstood doctrine of the ancient 


Charges thus affecting the character of Origen, the great 

pillar of the Christian church, cannot fall innocent of 

wound on Christianity itself. Origen is the very first of all 

the Fathers who has presented us with a catalogue of the 

books contained in the New Testament. He was the 

most laborious of all writers ; and his authoritative pen 

was alone competent to produce every iota of variation 

which existed between the old Pagan legends of the 

Egyptian Therapeuts and that new version of them 

♦ Porphyry. — ^Theodorct calls bim AenrovSos rifuty iroXtfuos, and O irarrarr 
ri/uy ffx^t0^os. Augustin calls him ^Christianorum aceirinius inimicus." 
+ Quasi refingcrent — Ta tow iraXcuov \ayov xofKutowrixttra, — Wb. 3. 


which first received from him the designation of the New 


Bishop Marshy in his Michaelis, the highest anthority 
we could possibly appeal to on this snbject^f admits^ that 
'' it is a certain fact> that several readings in onr common 
printed text are nothing more than alterations made by 
Origen^ whose anthority was so great in the Christian 
churchy that emendations which he proposed, though, as 
he himself acknowledged, they were supported by the evi- 
dence of no manuscript, were very generally received.*^ 
Hie reader will do himself the justice to recollect, that 
Origen lived and wrote in the third century, and that ^* no 
manuscript of the New Testament now extant is prior to 
the sixth century ; and, what is to be lamented, various 
readings which, as appears from the quotations of the 
Fathers, were in the text of the Greek Testament, are to 
be found in none of the manuscripts which are at present 



To charges of sach pregnant inference, we find our 
Christian Fathers, in like manner, making answers that 
only serve to authenticate those charges ; to demonstrate 
that they were founded in truth and not in malice; and 
tiiat, answered as they were, and as any thing may he^ 
they were utterly irrefragible. 

'^ You observe the philosophers," says Minudus Felix, ^ to 
have maintained precisely the same things as we Christians, 
but not so is it on account of our having copied from them, 
but because they, from the divine preachings of the pro- 
phets, have imitated the shadow of truth interpolated : 
thus the more illustrious of their wise men, Pythagoras 
first, and especially Plato, with a corrupted and half-fidtfi 

* See tbe chapter on Origen. 

t " The Introdaction to the New Testament by MjchaeUs, late profeMor al 
G5ttingen, as translated by Blanh, is thesimmdard work, eampr^titoiSttg aU tlMt 
is important on the sabjeet."— T^le iemmedBukop •fJUmmdtff, fttoied in BMaUg*t 
jinnoiations on the Oospelt^ toI* 1. (the introd.), p.xzTL 

X MichaeUB*8 Introdaction to New Test, by ^shop Mardi, tol. 2, p. 368. 

f Ibid. tol. 2, p. 160. 

CHAHGE8. 287 

have handed down the doctrine of regeneration/** And 
Lactantins> after admitting the tmth of the story, that 
man had been made by Prometheus oat of clay,— adds, 
diat the poets had not touched so much as a letter of 
oivine tmth; but those things which had been handed 
down in the vaticination of the prophets, they collected 
irom fables and obscure opinion, and having token suffi- 
cient care purposely to deprave and corrupt them, in that 
wilfully depraved and corrupted state they made them the 
suMects of their poems-f 

TertuUian calls the philosophers of the Gentiles the 
thieves, the interpolators, and the adulterators of divine 
tmth ; alleges, that ^' from a design of curiosity they put * 
our doctrines into their works, not sufficiently believing 
them to be divine to be restrained from interpolating them, 
and that they mixed that which was uncertain with what 
they found certain/'t 

Eusebius pleads, that the Devil, being a very notorious 
thief, stole the Christian doctrines, and carried them over - 
for Ms friends, the Pagan philosophers and poets, to make 
fun of.§ 

Theodoret accuses Plato especially, with having pur- 
posely mixed muddy and earthy filth with the pure foun- 
tain from which he drew the arguments of bis theology. || 

Thus, if we may believe Eusebius, the beautiful fable 
of Ovid's Metamorphosis, describing Phaeton falling from 
the chariot of his father, the Sun, was nothing more than 
a wicked corraption of the unquestionable tmth of the 
prophet Elijah having been caught up to heaven, as 
described (2 Kings ii.)> '' Behold there appeared a chariot of 
fire, and HOSSBS of fire, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind 
into heaven :'* the heathens being so ignorant as to con- 
found the name Helias with Helios, Ae Greek word for 

The almost droll Justin Martyr gives us a most satis* 
fiEU^tory explanation of the whole matter ; that ** it having 
reached the Devil's ears that the prophets had foretold 
that Christ would come for the purpose of tormenting the 

* QiioUd in Ptegmnns ObtrocUtor, p. 34* 

t LaeUntil Instil, lib. 3, cap. 10. Sie etiam conditionem renascendi, sapien- 
tinm clariores, Pythagoraaprimiia» atpradpnna Plato, comipta etdimidiata fide 
tra^demnt.— itfiN. Felix. 

t Tertal. Apolog. cap. 46, 47. 

f KXnnns yap o AuifioXos Ktu ra nfurtpa w^tpofiv^y frpos tous wvrou vwo 
^fTor. — Euseb, procuduiio »ed perdidi locmn. 

It E{ iff ovros XafitM^ nit ^wkoyuu tow tt^iiat to lAywScf kou ynei^s ay^fu^tv,-^ 
Theodmitus TUrapeuU Ubro 9, de PUtome lofment. 



wicked in fire, lie set the heathen poets to htiag forwaid « 
great many who should be called (and were called) 
of Jove. The Devil laying his scheme in this^ to get 
to imagine that the true history of Christ was of the 
character as those prodigious faUes and poetic stories.'^ 

I render from the beautiful Greek of Theodoret, a pa«r 
sage of considerable elegance, in which the reader wfll 
trace the rising dignity of style, superior manner, and cal- 
tivated taste with which an historian of the fourtji centniy 
could improve and varnish the awkward sophistry of Vm 
honester Christian Father of the second : — 

^' But if the adversaries of truth (our Pagan opponeBta;! 
so very much admired the truth, as to adorn their owb 
writings even with the smallest portions they coidd piUagi^ 
from it, and these, though mixed with much falsehe<Ml, 
yet dimmed not their proper beauty, but shone like peads 
resplendent through the squalors in which they lay, so 
that, according to the evangelical doctrine, the light 
shone in the dsuduiess, and by the darkness itself was not 
concealed; we may easily understand how lovely and 
admirable the divine doctrines must be, secerned from 
falsehood, for so differs the gem in its rougji matrix, from 
what it is when seen resplendent in a diadem/ 1 


The Emperor Julian — who, with all his imperfections 
on his head, was an ornament to human nature, and can 
by no means be conceived to have wanted any possible 
means of information on the subject — objects against die 
claims of Christianity, what a thousand testimonies con- 
firm, that it was a mixture of the Jewish superstition and 
Greek philosophy, so as to incorporate the Atheism of tha 
one with the loose and dissolute manner of living of the 
other. " If any one,'* says he, '^ should wish to know tlie 

* AKowravrfs yap Tapoeycyriffo/ifvotf rov xpurroVf koi KoKabrnrofJununn 8m wvfut 
ran aTejSci;, rpotfiaWoyro voAAovf Acx^^cu Xryofntvovs vtovs rw 8u, po/uget^m 
^mmota&w 99pyurtu r^pvrcXaytwr ifYn^tur^cu rovt onftpamirT ▼« row xpiardi/^ um 
ofAOMS Tott vwo TUfV xoiftTWf Xrx^^fT^' — Justwi, Apolog, 3. 

t Et 8« KOI o( tins aXtji^tias avrnraXoi ovrw K0fu9ii ^ta^alawn rrpr oAiydctcv, ms 
Kcu fipax*^ fwptois circid^fy irt^vXtififrois BteucaWvptv ra ounia {tixxyMVMWi *■* 
xoXAq» if<vu8€t ravra fiiyrvfura firi o/iiSXuciy ro (f^e n pow koXXos, aXXa ir^r Kompif 
KCU ^opvrw K€ifuvovs rous fjutpyapiras airrp<twrtiy Kuu^^ koi tneru nfr cwyyeTianir 
BtScurKoXuLy, ro ipots, cy rri ffKorta ^atptiy, kcu vwo tjis ckotios, foi Kpv»i99 &m 
{vriSfiy einrercr, owws eoriy a^icpaara koi ofioTcurra ra l^ta /tabitfuera top if«tiaMfr 
KffX«pur/xcya toAAijv yap hirov Sto^opoy €x« fiapyapenp «r $appyp» Kfiftimos CM 
w BiaBrificert Xofnrtcv. — Tkaxhret. TherapeHt. libra 2. 

CBABGBS. 2fi9 

timlh with respect to yoa Christians^ he will find your im- 
piety to be made up partly of the Jewurii audacity^ and 
partly of the indifference and confusion of the Gkntiles^ 
and thai ye have put together, not the best, bat Ae worst 
cliaiacteristics of them both."* 

. The' answer to which charge, on the part of the advo* 
cfttes of Christianity, was, that they neither took them to 
be gods whom the Gtentiles considered to be such, and so 
were not assimilated to the Gentiles ; nor did they respect 
the deisidemony of the Jews, and so were not adherents 
te Judaism. Nor was it a small matter of triumph to their 
cause, to contrast the apparent contrariety of charges that 
were alleged against them, in that as Julian accused them 
of adopting the worsi parts of (Sentilism, Celsus had 
aooused th^ of selecting tiie best parts. 


It is neyer to be forgotten, that the charges of Celsus 
stand only in the language in which Origen has been 
pleased to invest them; nor is it any very monstroas 
phenomenon that such wholly different characters as Julian 
and Celsus were, should either of them, with equal conscien- 
tiousness, have esteemed those sel&ame things the best, 
which tile other considered the worst parts of Gentilism. 

Celsus, an Epicurean philosopher, might very naturally 
dunk that an imposter acted with sound policy in giving 
to his new-fangled system all the advantages it could 
derive from the closest convenient conformity to the Epi- 
csraan carelessness of living, and indulgence in innocent, 
or even in perhaps not quite innocent pleasures ; while 
Jolian, all whose virtues were of the severest and most 
ri|^ self-restraint, looked with horror on the licence vehich 
tlM> doctrines of the apostolic chief of sinners had seemed 
ta countenance in the lives and manners of Ae Christians. 
The charge of the Emperor Julian is in striking coinci- 
dence of verisimilitude with the apparent fact of the case, 
that Paul of Tarsus, who, in his Epistie to the Colossians, 
caHs himself a deacon of the 6o8pel,t and who could have 
stood in that humble grade, oidy as a servant and mis- 

* Xirif vMjp vfimf flHXM ottatwf «|p«#iti rqk' v/urtpiBf oo'ff/9fiar'«rrff nfs (ov8atin|t 
ToA^ciff KOI n|ff vapa rots t^y^truf e^impofntuf uai xu^moTrjros avyKMifurriP, e( cya^oir 
71^ 69n TO mXAurrtir aXA« to x^*f^ tXxwtirrts vafnt^ Ktuc6f¥ fipyoffcur^, — 
Jmlimn mjmd CyriU, lib. 2. 

t That 18 in the Greek text. 



sioDary from the Therapeatan college ; schismatiMd ftom 
the churchy and set up in trade for himself. He opposed 
the ascetic discipline in which he had been trained, and 
thus drew to his party that large majority of ignoramosai 
which in all ages and countries are eager to embrace evetj 
part of superstition but its mortifications and restraints. 
There were innumerable other charges brought against the 
early Christians, which, as they impinge on their mond 
character only, and might be either true or false without 
materially affecting the evidences of the religion they pro- 
fessed» fie beyond the scope of this Dibgesis. l^dr 
amount in evidence is, that they sustain the fact, that 
whatever the principles and conduct of Christians may be 
supposed to have been, they were never such as to con*- 
quer the prejudices or to conciliate the affections >of thdr - 
fellow men. Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny have spoken 
of them in the most disparaging terms; and though it 
might be that those really wise and good men were un&irly 
prejudiced, yet it must cost any man who is not prejudiced 
hixoself, an effort to think so. 




The New Testament is in every one's hands: the claims 
of the four gospels therein contained we have already 

The thirteen epistles, purporting to have been written 
by an early convert to Christianity, who was be/ore a bUu^ 
phemer, a persecutor, and injurious :* the anonymous episde 
to the Hebrews ; the one of James ; one of Jude ; two^ 
Peter ; three of John : and the Apocalypse, or Revelation 
of St. John the Divine: though all of them, except the 
Apocalypse, are admitted to have been written before 
any one of the four gospels ; are entirely without data» 
and will read as well to an understanding or supposition 
of their having been written five or six hundred, or 
even a thousand years, either earlier or later than the 
to which they are usually assigned. Certain it 

♦ iTIm.i. 13. 


ia, that they contain not a single phrase of a nature or 
irignificancy to fix with any satisfactory probability tl^e 
time when they were written ; but from beginning to end 
Ibey proceed on the recognition of an existing church 
government and an established ecclesiastical polity 
frfaich, on the supposition of its origination in events that 
happened later than the time of Augustus, must outrage 
•U our knowledge of history^ and all common sense, to be 
reconciled with the supposition of their having been written 
by the persons to whom they are ascribed : as His certain 
that no such state of church government, that could be 
poroperly called Cliristian, existed or could have existed 
among the followers of a religion which had originated in 
the age of Augustus, or among any persons who had been 
his contemporaries. 

The Acts of the Apostles is evidently a broken narra- 
tive, and gives us no account whatever of what became of 
tihe immediate disciples of Christ, or how or with what 
success they executed the important commission they bad 
received from their divine master; save, that Judas the 
traitor is said to have come to a violent death, as a judg- 
ment of God upon his perfidy ; and that Peter and John 
were imprisoned as impostors, after having received the 
Holy Ghost, and been endued with the gift of speaking 
all the languages of the earth (a miracle which no rational 
being on earth believes) ; and that James was put to death 
by Herod. 

' The last account we have of Peter in the sacred his- 
tory, requires us to believe, that after having been deli- 
vered from prison by the intervention of an angel, his 
chains falling off*, and the ponderous iron gate opening of 
Ms own accord, '' he went down from Judea to Caesarea, 
and there abode."* 

The last we learn of Paul is, that " Paul dwelt two 
whole years in his own hired house, and received all that 
came into him ; preaching the kingdom of God, and teach- 
ing those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, 
With all confidence, no man forbidding him." 

The evident air and aim of this account, as far as it 
goes, is palpably incompatible with any notion of the 
apostles having sufiered martsrrdom ; it rather seems to 
make an ostentation of their prodigious success, and their 
perfect prosperity and security, and that too in Rome, in 

* Acts, xii* 1 9. 

98S cHRiCTiAN Ewmmom. 

tile immediate neighbourhood^ and under the goveraaBtoflrt 
of the tyrant Nero : while the iniinuatton at least wMk 
respect to the melancholy end of Judas, is, that the apM-^ 
ties themselves would have considered martyrdom t3 ^i^ 
honourable to their religion, and their being put to ffolent 
and cruel deaths, an indication of the divine displeaMmc^ 
as it is evidently represented to have been, upon Juda^^ 
^ The names and order of the twelve apostles. In the last 
list we have of them, are 

1. Peter, 5. Philip, 9. James Alpheus, 

2. James, 6. Thomas, 10. Simon Zelotes, 

3. John, 7- Bartholomew, 11. Jude, the brother of Jamei, 

4. Andrew, 8. Matthew, 12. Matthias. 

In the Lives of the Apostlesy written by the eunuch 
Dorotheus, bishop of Tyrus, who died a. d. 366, we have, 
the following brief account of the apostles respectively : 

1. Simon Peter. 

Simon Peter is the chief of the apostles. He, as we 
are given to understand by his epistles, preached the 
Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in Pontus, Gidatia, CSap- 
padocia, Bithynia, and in the end preached at Rome» 
where, afterwards, he was crucified, the third kalends of 
July, under Nero the emperor, with his head downwards 
(for that was his desire), and there also buried. 

2. James. 

James, the son of Zebedee, a fisherman, preached the 
Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ unto the twelve dis- 
persed tribes. He was slain with the sword, by Herod 
the tetrarch, in Judea, where also he was buried. 

3. John. 

John, the brother of James who was also an evangelist^ 
whom the Lord loved, preached the Gospel of our Lord 
Jesus Christ in Asia. The emperor Trajan exiled him 
into the Isle of Patmos for the word of God, where he 
wrote also his gospel, the which afterwards he published 
at Ephesus, by Gains, his host and deacon. After the 
death of Trajan, he returned out of the Isle of Patmos, 
and remained at Ephesus, until he had lived a hundred 
and twenty years, at the end of which, he being yet in 
full health and strenj^th (for the Lord would have it so), 

* Sec this question fettled in the chapter on Martyrdom. 


digged his own grave^ and buried himself alive. There 
wte some whidi write that he was not banished into the 
Isle of Patmos under Trajan> but in the time of Domitian, 
the son of Vespasian. 

The translator of this John, St Jerome, quotes the 
authority of TertuUian to prove, that in the time of Nero, 
he was thrown at Rome into a tun of hot boiling oil, and 
tliereby he took no harm, but came forth after his trial 
purer than when he went in. St. Augit^tin relates, that 
^' after St John had made bis grave at Ephesus, in the 
presence of divers persons, he went into it alive, and 
being no sooner in, and as appeared to the by-standers, 
dead, they threw the earth in upon him, and covered him ; 
but that kind of rest was rather to be termed a state of 
sleep than of death; for that the earth of the grave 
bubbleth and boileth up to this day after the manner of 
a weU, by reason of John resting therein and breathing — 
a sign that he only slumbereth there, but is not really 
dead ! And till Christ shall come again, thus he remains, 
plainly showing that he is alive by the heaving up of 
the earth, which is caused by his breathing ; for the dust 
is believed to ascend from the bottom of the tomb to the 
top, impelled by the state of him resting beneath it. 
Those who know the place," adds this conscientiously 
veracious Father, ** must have seen the earth thus 
heave up and down ; and that it is certainly truth, we 
are assured, as having heard it from no light-minded 
witnesses." * 

4. Andrbw> 

The brother of Simon Peter, as our elders have deli- 
vered unto us, preached the Gospel of our Lord Jesus 
Christ unto the Scythians, Sogdians, Sacians, and in tho 
middle Sebastopolis inhabited of wild Ethiopians. He 
was crucified by JBgeas, king of the Edessaeans, and 
buried at Patris, a city of Achaia. 

* << Idem Augustioos asserat Apostoliun Jobaanem vhen atqne in illo septil- 
^ro ejus, quod est apud Ephesum, dortnire earn potius quam mortuom jacere 
«ontendat. Aaaumat in argomentum quod iilic terra sensim icatere et quasi 
ebuUire perhibeatur, atque boc ejus anbelitu fieri. £t cum mortuus putaretur, 
tepnltnm fnisse dormientem, et donee Cbristns reniat, sic manerr, suamque 
ritam scaturigine pulvcris indicare : qui pulyis creditur ut ab iino ad supcr- 
fidem tumuli asceodat statu quescentis impelli. . . . Viderint qui locum sciunt— 
.quia et rcvcra, nou a levibus bominibus id audivimus. ^rf hanc reni satis 
9mp«rqH€ satis testijicandam utor- — Fabririi Codicc jipucrypho, torn. 2, p. 590, I'u 


5. Philip. 

Philip, of the city of Bethsaida, pieached the Goqid ia 
Fhrygia ; he was honourably buried at Hierapolifl^ wilk 
his daughters. In Acts viii. 39, Philip is described m 
possessiBg the power of rendering himself invisiUe. 

6. Thomas, 

A$ it hath been delivered unto us,* preached the Gospel 
of our Saviour Jesus Christ unto 'the Parthians, lfedes» 
and Persians; he preached also unto the Garamans, 
Uircans, Bactrians, and Magicians ! He rested at Gal*- 
mina, a city in Indit, being slain with a dart, where it 
was also honourably buried. 

7. Bartholomew 

Preached the Grospel of our Lord Jesus Christ unto the 
Indians, and delivered unto them the gospd of Matthew. 
He rested, and was buried in Albania, a city of Armenia 
the Great 

The translator^ Peter de Natalibus, informs us, that this 
St. Bartholomew was nephew to the king of Syria. An- 
tonius, in his Chronicle, writeth, that some have delivered 
that he was beaten to death widi cudgels ; some, that lie 
was crucified with his bead downwards; others, that 
he was flayed alive ; and others, that he was beheaded, at 
the commandment of Ptolemaeus, king of India ; but Peter 
de Natal, together with Abdias, bishop of Babylon, recon- 
cile the whole in this manner : how that the first day the 
apostle was beaten with cudgels, the second day crucified 
and flayed alive, and afterwards, while yet he continued 
to breathe, beheaded. 

With all due respect to such profoundly learned autho- 
ritics, 1 could suggest another way of reconciling the whole 
matter. This royal apostle was especially distinguished 
for his miraculous power of rendering himself invisiUe, 
and slipping through the key-hole into bed-chambers, for 
the greater convenience of giving lectures to young ladies, 
on the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary.f This 
faculty he possessed in common with St. Philip. 

* Sorely this is a very snspicioiu sort of wwrdimg^ for the first md 
testimony that can be pretended to the existence of so extraordinary a Thoi 

t Et ccpit qoaerere Apostolum, sed non inrenit earn amplins. Factam eal 
auu^m at appaniit Apostolus ostio claoso in cabicalo ipsios <ticens nihil camala 
desidero sed scire te volo quia filins Dei in Virginia raka conceptns, inter i] 
«<H*reta rirginis. Oke / Jam sails est ! terqnt qnaterjuc pUts <ptam satis S 


8. Matthew, 

The eTangelist, wrote the Grospel of onr Lord Jesus 
CSirist in the Hebrew tongae, and delivered it nnto James, 
4ie brother of the Lord according to the flesh, who was 
bishop of Jerusalem. He died at Hierapolis, in Parthia, 
where he also was honourably buried. 

9. Jambs Alphbus. 

James, the son of Alpheus, was bishop of Jerusalem 
by the appointment of the other apostles. He was kiUed 
by St. Paul. Having been set by the Jews upon a pin- 
Bacle of the temple, Saul, who was afterwards called 
Paul, thrust him off; and while yet he breathed after his 
fall, one came with a fuller's club and brained him. 

10. Simon Zblotes. 

Simon Zelotes, that is, Simon the Fanatic, preached 
Christ throughout Mauritania and the Lesser Africa ; at 
length he was crucified in Britannia, slain and buried. 


Jude, the brother of James, called also Thaddaeus and 
Lebbseus, preached unto the Edessseans, and throughout 
aU Mesopotamia. He was slain at Berytus, in the time 
of Agbarus, king of Edessa, and buried very honourably. 

These two apostles, St Simon and St. Jude, are generally 
mentioned together, and seem to have been inseparably 
united through the whole course of their truly incredible 
adventures. Their commemoration is kept by the church 
of England on the 28th of October. Their conjoint 
miracles of healing all manner of diseases, raising the 
dead till churchyards were completely useless, and wor- 
rsring and tormenting the poor devils tiU they howled and 
squealed, and wished themselves back again in hell from 
whence they had issued; are but every-day work, common 
to them with all the rest of the apostolic community. But 
they were more especially distinguished by their holy 
seal, and their exertion of miraculous energies in protect- 
ing the moral character of those whom they had once 
admitted into holy orders. * '^ They had with them many 

* Habebunt autem aecum diicipiilos multoa, ex quibus ordinabant per chri- 
tates presbytero8, et diaconoi et clericoi , et eccleaiaa multas constituebant. 
Factum est autem ut unus ex diaconibns pateretur crimen incesti. Erat enim 
TicinuB filiae Satrapae cujusdam ditiaaimi hominta, que perdita virginitate partnm 
edena periclitabatur. Interrogata autem a parentiboa virum Dei sanctum at 
castum Enphrosinum diaconom impetebat. Qui tentua a parentiboa pueUa 


disciples^ ont of whom they ordained in every city, priesti^ 
deacons and clerks^ and for whom they built inniunefaUa 
churches. It happened that one of their deacons wifi 
accused of criminal conversation. The daughter oC f^ 
wealthy satrap being found in the plight of the Virgia 
Mary, after she had received the salutation of the angel 
Gabriel, but not able, like her, to persuade the world that 
her pregnancy resulted from the obunAration of the Holy 
Ghost, upon being questioned by her parents^ swore her 
child upon the chaste and holy deacon Euphrosinus^ ihmmi 
whom her parents were for taking the law ; which, whea 
the apostles St. Simon and St Jude heard, they cam0 
instantly to die girFs parents, who, upon aeeingibfi 
apostles, loudly accused the deacon of the crime. Then 
the apostle said, ' When was the child bom V And they 
answered, ' This very day, at one o'clock/ Then said 
they, ' Bring the infant and this deacon, whom you accuse^ 
together before us/ And, upon the infant and the deacon 
being confronted, the apostles addressed the new-bom 
babe, and said, ' In the name of our Lord Jesus Christy 
speak and tell us if this deacon got you/ Whereupon 
the babe, with most perfect and complete doqaence^ 
answered, ' Gentlemen, I assure you that this deacon is 

holy and chaste, and has never / (Hie reader must 

translate the rest on't for himself— the young one was 
a bit of a wag.) But the parents of the girl insisted that 
the apostles should make the child tell (if the deacon was 
not his father) who else was. The apostles answered and 
said, ' Oh, no ; it is our place only to absolve the inno- 
cent, not to betray the guilty/ " There was evidently 
a good understanding between the apostles themselves 
and the young one. 

12. Matthias. 

Matthias, being one of the seventy disciples, was after- 
wards numbered with the eleven apostles, in die room of 

ur^batur subirc yindictam . Qnod ubi Apostoli audiTerant, veiienint ad parentei 
paelle. At illi cum adapexuaent apoatolos, csperent clamare et diacoQum 
reum bujaii criminis accuaare. Turn Apoatoli : quando inquiunt natua est puer ? 
raipondenint hodie hora diei prima. Dicunt ei apoatoli. Perdacite hoc infiaDtem» 
et diaconam qoem accusatia hoc pariter addacite. Camqae in piteaentia eaient* 
alloquuntur apostoli infantem, dicentes: " In nomine Domini nostri Jesa 
Chriati loqaere, et die ai iste diaconua pnesmnaerit banc iniquitatem." Tom 
iofans absolutisaimo aermone ait, ** Hie diaconua, vir sanctus et caatus eat et 
Dunquam inqninavit caraem suam." Ruraus autem insistebant pareotea Apoa- 
tolis, ut de persona infans interrogaretur incesti* Qui dixerunt : noa inno^ 
rentes solvere decet, et nocentes prodere non decet. — l)c SS. Simoi%€ et Jmdm 
^Mier llutoria Aposiolica^ lib. 6, c. 18. 


iiidas the traitor. He preadied tbe Gospel in Ethiopia^ 
about the hayen called Hyssns and the river Phasls^ unto 
barbarous nations and cannibals. He died at Sebasto- 
polis^ and was bnried near the temple of the l^n. 


It appears from the Catalogue of Dorothens, that Cephas, 
who was one of the seventy disciples^ and not one of the 
twelve apostles, was the person whom Paul reprehended 
at Antioch, and that he was bishop of Cannia. For though 
Cephas is a Syriac word of the same sense and signifi- 
cancy as Peter, or Petra,B, rock* yet have we this positive 
testimony of Dorotheus, who wrote earlier than Eusebius> 
and all the conceivable congruities of the case, supported 
by the explicit and positive testimony of Eusebius, and of 
Clemens Alexandrinns, that Cephas and Peter were wholly 
distinct personages.t By this understanding we evade 
the revolting absurdity of the supposition, that Paul, a 
late convert, should have taken upon himself to withstand 
^ Peter to the face, when he was come to Antioch (Gal. ii.), 
while we retain the other horn of the dUemma, that Paul 
has, in his 1st Epistie to the Corinthians (chap, xv.), 
I^iven an account of the resurrection of Christ, utterly 
irreconcileable with that of either of our four gospels.;]: 


This critique is of most essential argument, inasmuch, 
as if valid, it tends to detect and cut off the sophistical 
artifice which would endeavour to connect the narrative 
and probable part of the Acts of the Aposties with the 
mystical personages and adventures of the Gospel, 
thereby aiming to reflect something of the air of historical 
probability which attaches to the mere journal of the 
voyages and travels of some schismatical missionaries 
firom the Egyptian monasteries, upon the wholly supcr- 

* It is in FreDch only that the miserable pun on St. Peter's name is exact — 
*' Tu es Pierri et sur cette pierre," The same is imperfect in Greek, Latin, 
Italian. &c. and totally nnintelligible in oar Teutonic languages. 

i* H8* urropia rapa KXntfuifTt — §y ii km Rif^ay, vtpi ou ^^uf o TlavKot, art Sc 
ffkb* Ktf^oi CIS Svriox*^9»9 Kora itpoawiwop «vr« oyrcon^j^, ori iceer€yvwrfitvos lyr, 
CKK ^ni<n ytyovtvai rotv §fiSofiriK<urra fuidTjr&w ofucwfwy Uerpta rvYfovovra rw 
tarofrroXM, — Euseb. £c. Hist, lib. 1, c. 12, C. 

X Neither the Peter oor the Judas of the Acts of the Apostles arc the same 
characters as the Peter and Judas of the Gospels, nor can the two histories be 
fairly reconciled. 


natural dramatiM persona of the Gospel^ and t» midus tfie 
one seem a sequel and continnation of die other. 

To this device solely^ we owe the canonicity of As 
Acts of the Apostles, an evident fragment as it is, and an 
awkward jumble of fiction and fact, romance and real 
history. It was held necessary (bo as it were to bring 
heaven and earth together) that some account, it mattered 
not what, should be crammed down the gaping throat of 
tiiat natural curiosity which would want to know what 
became of the glorious company of the apostles 9&Xit they had 
seen Jesus Christ ascend up through the clouds^ pan 
through Orion's belt, and take [hisj chair at the right 
hand of Grod. So late, however, as A. d. 407, or die 
beginning of the fifth century, the Acts of the Aposdes 
had not gained general acceptance, or was rather too 
gross a finesse even for the credulity of the faithful. 

Chrysostom, bishop of CJonstantinople at that time, in 
his first homily upon the title and beginning of this legend, 
says, ^* To many this book is unknown, by others it is 
despised, because it is clear and easy." The first of his 
homilies upon the whole book begins with the sentence, 
** By many this book is not at all known, neither (the 
book) itself, nor who wrote and put it together."* 


JudoA Iscariot, though thrown out of the list of aposdes, 
by an apparent conspiracy of the rest against him, had, 
in the contexture of the Gospel-story, certainly been 
chosen and appointed to the apostleship by Christ lumsel^ 
had received and exercised the gift of miracles, had cast 
out as many devils, healed as many patients, and restored 
as many dead folks to life, as any of his apostolic brethren. 
His being the treasurer of the Mendicity Society, having 
the bag, and bearing what was put therein, is a strong 
presumption that he was the most trustworthy among 
them. The sincerity and the intensity of his repentence 
for having betrayed Jesus — ^his returning the wages of 
iniquity which he had received, and above all, his offering 
himself to the imminent hazard of death, by coming for- 
ward and protesting to the innocence of his master, when 
all his other disciples forsook him and fled, and then 

* TIoXAois rovro $i0\ioy ovfiortovy yvwpifjLOP wrw, ovrc avro, ourc o 7pa4*at mvn 
Kot cw^tu, — Ts, p. 1. Compare with Dr. Lardner's futile recalcitration, quoted 
iQ our Chapter of Admissions, p. 41. 


tenninatuig his own life in an agony of sorrow for his 
fanlt ; are alleWating considerations, which most render 
hun, with all but bad-hearted people, rather an object of 
pity than of hatred; and when reter, who cursed and 
swore, and lied and perjured, till the venr cock crowded 
siame on him, was forgiven upon a wink, Judas must cer- 
tainly be considered as having been very unfairly used. 
But no ingenuity of critical chicane can reconcile the 
character of the Judas of the gospels with the personage 
who bears the same name in the Acts of the Apostles ; 
they are wholly different characters. 

The Judaa of the Gospels The Judaa of the Acts 

Repented ; Did not repent ; 

Retamed the money to the Kept the money for his own 
chief priests and elders ; use ; 

Cast it down in the temple. Bought a field with it ; 
and departed ; 

Died by his own act and will. Died by accident 

Next to the inimediate apostles, in apostolic dignity^ 
and first of all real personages whose existence there is na 
reason to doubt, however much there may be to question 
whether their adventures and performances were such as 
have been ascribed to them, are the two unapostolical 
evangelists, Mark and Luke, and that least of the apostles, 
who was not meet to be called an apostle,^ Paul of Tarsus^ 
the apostolic chief of sinners.f 


The evangelist, according to Eusebius, was bishop of 
Alexandria. '^ He preach^ the Gospel,'' says Doro- 
theus, " unto the people of Alexandria, and all the 
bordering regions from Egypt unto Pentapolis. In the 
time of -Trajan, he had a cable-rope tied about his neck 
at Alexandria, by which he was drawn from the place 
called Bucolus unto the place called Angels, where he 
was burned to ashes by the furious idolaters, in the month 
of April, and buried at Bucolus. 


The evangelist, of the city of Antioch, by profession a 
physician (t. e. a Therapeut), wrote the Grospel as he 

• 1 Cor. XT. 9. + 1 Tim. i. 15. 

270 CHRiariAN EVID9N0Q9. 

heard Peter the apostle pieadi, and the Acta of Che 
Apostles as Paul delivered onto him. He wccom^v^aittA 
the apostles in their peregrinations, but espedally PaoL 
He died at Ephesos, where he was also buried;* aad 
after many years, together with Andrew aad Timothy^ hm 
was translated to Constantinople, in the time of CraistMH 
tins, the son of Constantinus Magnus. 


Being called of the Lord Jesus Clurist himself after hia 
assumption, and numbered in the catalogue of the apos* 
ties, began to preach the Gospel from Jerusalem, and 
traveUed through lUjrricum, Italy, and Spaini. His 
epistles are extttit at this day full of all heavei^ wis- 
dom.t He was beheaded at Rome under Nero, the third 
kalends of July, so died a mart]^, and lieth there, bmied 
with Peter the apostle/' — ^Thus far Dorotheus. 

Though there can be no doubt of the existence of 
St Paul, of his being entirely such a character as he is 
in the New Testament represented to have been, and 
that the epistles which go under his name are competently 
authentic, and such as without a most unphilosopliical 
and futOe litigiousness, no man would think of denying to 
have been written by him, excepting only a few immi 
terial interpolations ; yet for the fact of his having beea 
beheaded by order of Nero, or having suffered martyrdom 
in any way, we have no better authority than such as 
those who would have us believe it, would be ashamed to 
produce ; that is, neither other nor better authority than 
that of Linus, the imaginary successor of the imaginary 
St. Peter in the bishopric of Rome, who would persuade 
us, that '' after Paul's head was struck off by the sWord 
of the executioner, it did with a loud and distin^ct voicef 
utter forth, in Hebrew, the name of our Lord JesUs Chrfat; 
while, instead of blood, it was nought but a stream <tf 
pure milk that flowed from his veins ;" or that of Abdias, 
bishop of Babylon, who assures us, that when his head 

* The particular care wbicli this historian shows for haying all his saiatt and 
martyrs authentically buried is, to attest the identity of&ir relics, wfaick 
retained their miraculous virtue for ages, and thus achieved as many mindet 
after their decease as they had ever done while living. From the time when 
these worthies were buried till the accession of Constantius must have been 
upwards of 900 years, so that in the natural order of things, every particte of 
their bodies must have evaporated or mouldered away ; but Manet poti fimerm 

f This heavenly wisdom is a very particular sort of wisdom. 


WM cut off, instead of blood, ran milk, so that the milky 
^ye flowed all oyer the sword, and washed oyer tho 
execatioiier's arm.* 

In a church at Rome, at this day called At the three 
fomUams, the place where St. Paol was beheaded, .they 
show the identical spot where the milk spoated forth firmn 
his ai>08tolical arteries, and where, moreover, his heady 
after it had done preaching, took three jumps (to tho 
honoar of the holy Trinity), and at each spot on which it 
jumped there instantly struck up a spring of liying water, 
which retains at this day a plain and distinct taste of 
milk. Of all which facts, Baronius, Mabillon, and all the 
grayest authors of the Roman Catholic communion, giye 
us the most credible and unquestionable assurance.t 

It would be an injustice, howeyer, to father such mira* 
culous accoimts exclusively on the writers of the Roman 
Catholic communion. We should not have even a single 
credible witness left to ascertain to us, that Christianily, 
in any shape or guise, continued in existence, or what 
it was, after it passed from the first to other hands, 
should we consider the most egregious, atrocious, impu- 
dent lying as a disparagement to the credibility o( Christian 
historians. It is no fanatic or enthusiast who is himsdf 
deceived, but it is the calm, serious, calculating, most 
sincere, most accomplished, most veracious St. Augustin, 
' who, in his 33rd Sermon addressed to his reverend 
brethren, fearlessly stakes his eternal salvation to the 
fact, which was as true as the Grospel, and for which there 
can be no doubt that he would as cheerfully as for the 
Gvospel have suffered himself to be burned at the stake ; 
tiiat '^ he himself being at that time bishop of Hippo* 
Regius, had preached the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ to a whole nation of men and women thai 
hid no heads, but had their eyes in their bosoms ; and in 
countries still more southerly^ he preached to a nation* 
among whom [each individusd had but one eye, and 
that situate in the middle of the foreheads j: While the no 
less credible Eusebius assures us, that on some occasions 
the bodies of the martyrs who had been devoured by wild ' 

* Flezis genibni, crucisque se aig^o muniens, cemcem pnebuit percuwori ; 
£ cd]us gla^o, desecto capite, pro sanguine lac cucurrit ita ut percussoris dez- 
tram lactea unda perfiinderet.— ^/mrfo/. HUt, lib. 2, p. 455. 

t See the statement to the sense, not the letter, in Dr. Middleton's Letter 
from Rome, p. 127. 

X Syntagma, p. 33. 

273 ' CHEI8T1AN EVlDENGte.' 

beasts, upon the beasts being strangled, were fomid alire 
in their stomachs, even after having been completely 

Snch statements, and ecclesiastical history is little better 
than a continued series of snch, must surely convinoe 
every impartial inquirer, that the professors and preachen 
of Christianity, however a few honourable exceptions may 
have from time to time arisen, (as never was die society 
80 bad, but that there must have been some among them 
not quite so bad as the worst), yet generally they were 
men who had no respect for truth, and no governing prin- 
ciple but a wicked esprit du corps, which determined them 
i touie outrance to impose on the credulity and ignorance 
of the vulgar. 

That there is no difference between the Popish legends and the 

canonical Acts of the Apostles. 

The great difficulty is to draw the line between 
ecclesiastical history, and that which is truly apostolical ; 
since it is hardly possible to fix on a legend so egie- 
gionsly absurd, or a pretended miracle so monstroual^ 
ridiculous, in all that is absurd and ridiculous in Popish 
superstition, but that its original type and first draft shiUl 
be to be found even in our own canonical and inspired 

After have laughed at St Dunstan's taking the Devil 
by the nose with a pair of red-hot tongs, in the golden 
legend, we are made to laugh on the other side of the 
mouthy or rather to tremble and adore, at the account^ 
which nobody may doubt, of the fate of the seven sons of 
Sceva the Jew, in conflict with whom it was the DevO who 
proved victorious, and overcame them^ and prevailed against 
them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 
Nor was the wonder-working name of '' Jesus, whom Paul . 

? reached," sufficient to lay him: for, said the Devil, "Jesus 
know, and Paul I know, but who are you T* — Acts xix. 15. 
In like manner we Protestants, who despise all the 
stories of miracles wrought by old rags, rotten bones, rusty 
nails, pocket-handkerchiefS) and aprons ; that stand on no • 
better authority than those monkish tales which our church 
has rejected, do bow with implicit faith to the miracles 
wrought by relics, which stand on the authority of those 
monkish tales which our church has not rejected ; and it 
is to be believed, or at least not lauofhcd at, under peril of 

* Lardner, rol. 4, p. 91. 


being sent to jail, that " God wrought special miracles fty the 
hgna of Paul, 90 that from his body were brought unto the 
ftcky handkerchiefs or aprons, and tM diseases departed from 
them, and the evil spirits went out from t/iem/* — Acts xix. 12. 

Here again, is an egregions atopism. — How conid St. 
Panl have aprons f or what use could Jews have of pocket 
hmidkerchiefs^ Are we to forget that their sleeves and 
beards answered all the purpose, and saved washing? 

We are at full liberty to have our mirth out at the story 
of St. Bartholomew possessing the faculty of becoming in- 
Tinble, and appearing and disappearing, as the cause of 
the gospel required, l^ause that story rests only on the 
authority of the apostolic history of Abdias, a few pages 
further on than our canonical Acts of the Apostles has 
continued to make extracts from it : but had it been 
introduced, as many arguments would have been adduced 
by our clergy, to justify it, and as great peril of incarcera- 
tion incurred for snuffing at it, as at precisely the parallel 
story of St. Philip, who, in the canonical part of the book, 
is described as riding in the air, as picked up by the 
Spirit of the Lord in one place, and popped down in 
another (Acts vi. 40). 

That no such persons as the Twelve Apostles ever existed. 

Thus the glorious company of the apostles, having glistened 
upon the world's darkness like the sparks on a burnt rag, 
go out in like manner, leaving no more vestige of their 
existence, or of any effect of the miraculous powers with 
which they are believed to have been invested, than '' the 
bird's wing: on the air, or the pathway of the keel through the 
wave.*' No credible history whatever recognizes the exist- 
ence of any one of them, or of any one result of all their 
stupendous labours and sufferings. The very criterion 
miracle itself, the most critical and important of all, that 
which if not true, leaves not so much as a possibility 
that any other should be so — the miracle of the gift of 
tongues, not only has no one particle of concurrent 
eviaence in all the world to make it credible, or even to 
make it conceivable, but absolutely breaks down and 
gives way, and is attended by positive demonstration of 
its falsehood, even in the immediate context of the legend 
which relates it. In sequence, on the passage which 
instructs us that the assembled apostles were by the 
immediate power of God '* enabled to speak all the lan- 
guages of the earth in a moment of time," and thus 


unqnestionably must have been rendered the most ^m- 
summate and accomplished scholars that ever liTed/we 
find Peter and John, the most distingfairiied of them, in ib^ 
next scene, brought before the magistrates as notorimui 
tricksters and cheats, and then and there availing them- 
selves of their supernatural gift of eloquence to no better 
effect, than to show that they were unlearned and ^mnmt 
men^ (Acts iv. 13). 

The Arabian Nights Entertainments are more con- 
sistent. Consult the records of history, and what has 
become of these most extraordinary personages that ever 
existed, if indeed they ever existed? Not only dieir 
names are no where to be found, but the mighty works 
which should have perpetuated their names have no 
records. The churches which they are said to have 
founded, have all shared the fate of Aladdin's castle : tibe 
nations which they converted, have all relapsed into 
idolatry ; the light that was to lighten the Grentiles, only 
served to introduce the dark ages. Not only chronology 
and history withhold all countenance firom the falndoiis 
adventures of these fabulous personages, but geography 
itself recoils from the story ; not only were there no sock 
persons as themselves, and no such persons as the kings 
and potentates whom they are said to have baptized and 
converted, but no such countries, cities, and nations as 
many of those in which they are said to have achieved 
their mightiest works. Like their divine Master, their 
kingdoms were not of this world. Where, for instance, 
was the country of the Magicians, of the AinasM>ns, of the 
Acephali, the Monoculi, and the Salamanders? Where 
but in the same latitude with Brobdignag and Lillipntaf 



From the self-evident absurdity of all arguments drawn 
from miracles, which could be of avail only to those who 
witnessed them, and even to them of no further avail than 
to make them stare and wonder, but to leave them in as 
great ignorance as ever as to the what then, or what infer- 
ence, from an unaccountable fact to the truth or falsehood 
of an unaccountable doctrine, divines have been driven 
upon the dernier resort of a desperate attempt to connect 


Chruitiaiiity with a species of historical eridence ariring 
from the argumgntef martyrdom. 

Accordingly, in the latest or at least most popular treatise 
OB the Evidences of Christianity which is now read in onr 
^uuvinrsities, and generally appealed to as exhibiting the 
whole stress of the cavse set in the best light, and shown 
to the utmost advantage, the whole burthen is laid on 
these two propositions : — 

First. *^ That there is satisfactory evidence that many 
professing to be original witnesses of the Christian mira- 
desy passed their lives in labours, dangers, and sufferings, 
Yolnntarily undergone in attestation of the accounts which 
they delivered, and solely in consequence of their belief 
of those accounts ; and tlmt they also submitted, from the 
came motives, to new rules of conduct" 

Second Proposition. ^^ That there is not satisfactory 
ervidence that persons pretending to be original witnesses 
of any other similar miracles, have acted in the same 
manner in attestation of the accounts which they deB- 
¥ered, and solely in consequence of their belief of the 
txuth of those accounts/'* 

Such are the specific propositions on whieh the whole 
fabric of the evidences of Christianity is raised, by that 

£«at master " of thoughts that are just, and words that are 
aut^'ul/'f whose name and authority were urged to 
jasti^ the cutting off from society of one whose only offence 
mas, that he ava^ed himself of thoughts quite as just, in 
words as beautiful, leading only to diametrically opposite 

Not to quarrel with the logic of these propositions, nor 
waste a moment's indignation en the apparent insult 
offered to the acutest sensibilities of our nature, in thus 
couching conditions involving the eternal happiness or 
misery of man, in terms whose laxity of purport and 
indefiniteness of sense could intend no other drift than to 
evade conclusion, to disappoint solicitude, and to defeat 

We apply at once to this whole argument of martyr- 
dom, these two grand conflicting propositions : — 

Urst, That sufferings undergone by the first preachers 
of Christianity is not the kind of evidence which we have 

* Ptley's ETidences of ChiMamly* 

t Words of Sir Jamet Scarlett, told to the prosecution of the Author, in the 
Court of King's Bench, October 24, 1927. 

t2 * 


a rigki to expect that the good and gradoua Father of. 
miuikiiid shoidd have given to a revelation which he wnft 
pleased to make ; 

Second, That it is absolutely noi true, that the firat 
preachers of Christianity did undergo any sufferings whiUr 
ever in attestation of the accounts which they delivered. 

In still briefer proposition, the argument of martyrdom 
is not true ; and it would be good for nothing, if it were 

I. That Martyrdom is not the lUnd of' evidence which we have 

a right to expect. 

Against this first and primordial consideration of the 
business, a most preposterous and absurd war of nonsense 
and insolence is generally raised, to shelter and protect- 
the desolation of the Christian argument. ** iV sy, b mi 
O man, who art thou, that replyest against God? wThat 
right have we to demand that God should give to his 
revelation just such evidence as we please to think 
necessary V 

To all which sort of language, though disgracuig tte^ 
style of authors who have acquired the fame of mtiC8» 
scholars, and rational men, on all other subjects, we have^ 
only to bid observance be awake to the petitio princ^pu, or 
entire begging of the question, which it involves. For they 
who write or preach on the evidences of the Christian reli« 
gion, must at least be supposed to hold out that they have 
some reasons or arguments to offer, which shall induce men 
who before did not believe, to become believers ; or thoee 
who before did in some degree believe, to believe with a 
stronger degree of conviction than they otherwise would : 
(which is a branch of the same general purpose): and to 
acquit themselves in the discharge of that duty which the 
apostolic injunction hath bound upon them — t. e. to be 
ready always to give an anstoer to every man that asketh them 
a reason oj the hope that is in them, with meekness andjear,* 
But such an answer is a veto upon all reason, and a com- 
plete admission of entire inability to give one; and, in* 
stead of indicating any disposition of meekness, is little 
short of an assumption to themselves of the most usi- 
qualified infallibility ; and brings their logic into a drcle^ 
which all rational men know at once to be downright 
idiotcy. For not only must they maintain that the 

♦ I Pet.m. 15. 


was thorefore proper, because it is such as God has been 
ideased to gire, but that God has been pleased to give it, 
because it was proper : thus assuming to themselves that 
very right which they impugn, and exercising that prero- 
gative which they bold to be the highest pitch of impiety 
when claimed by other persons, or exercised to other ends 
than their's. 

And this, their argumentum in drcuio, is spun upon the 
pivot of another sophism in logic, the asmmptio ex pout 
jacto. The propriety and sufficiency of their evidence 
vroold never have been dreamed of, if it had not been that 
such, and none other, was the best evidence they had to 
pretend ; and any other evidence whatever that they had 
chosen to pretend, they could just as well have pretended 
to be the proper and sufficient evidence as this. 

The impropriety of the argument as it respects the character 

of God. 

A moment's conscientious reflection must surely lead 
any rational mind to a conviction how essentially immoral 
and unfit, and how egregiously irrelevant and inconclusive 
any such sort of evidence to a divine revelation must be, 
and make the very most of it, and concede the very 
utmost in its favour. Is it in the compass of invention to 
conceive any thing more unworthy op God? more 
disparaging and subversive of all respectful and honour- 
able apprehensions, which, whosoever believeth that there 
tt a God at all, ought to entertain and cultivate in his 
mind 1 Or was there ever in the world a conceivable worse 
example of injustice and cruelty, than that involved in the 
supposition of the Almighty Governor of the universe 
choosing out his best and most accepted servants to 
send them on a message, the faithful delivery of which 
should bring on them the most horrible sufierings, and most 
cmel deaths? What else is a Moloch? or Belial ? What 
other notion can we have of a demon ? What die of grimmer 
blackness can be added to that monster of your conceit, 
iniiom you have described as dealing thus with those who 
love and serve him best : whom you pourtray as a tyrant, 
whose commissions are fatal to tnose who hold them, who 
pays his best servants with bloody wages* whose embas- 
sies of peace are borne on vulture's wings, whose charities 
are administered in works of destruction, whose tender 
mercies are cruel ? 

And what relevancy, pray, after all, between the suffer- 


iags which any set of persoiui may volantarily aadergn, 
and the truth or falsehood of any doctrines they may baf e 
maintained? What consequence or connection between 
the endurance of punishment, and the utterance of tnsA, 
unless we have some means of heinti; assured that it was 
impossible that any body dhould have been punished for 
uttering falsehood, and so outrage all notions of a moial 
government of the universe ? 

Do we, then, hold a revelation from God to be, in the 
nature of things, absolutely impossible? — ^We answer^ no! 
Then, by what other possible means than those of mirar 
cles, and the sufferings of those who were the immediate 
channels of the divine communication, can we sappoae 
the revelation to be conveyed ? *^ They shall no more 
teach every man his neighbour ^ Mying, Know the Lard! for 
they shall all know himyfrom the least to the greatest: for 
the whole earth shall be jukd with the knowledge of the gbny 
of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." — Isaiah. 

A person who had sincerely persuaded himself of the 
divine authority of whatever purports to have been posi- 
tively commanded or forbidden by Christ, would neirer be 
seen to darken the doors of either church or chapel. — 
'^ Thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are : But thou, when 
thou pray est, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy 
door, pray to thy Father which is in secret. What is the act, 
then, of attending public worship, but an act of public 
hypocrisy ? And whose authority is it, that they respect, 
who fly in the teeth of so positive an inhibition ? 

But this would spoil religion as a trade ; and therefore, 
like Christ's professed indUference to the observation of 
the Sabbath,* and his most solemn forbiddance of oath- 
taking,t it becomes a dead letter, which every body leadSi 
but nobody respects. 

The impropriety of the argument as it respects the charaeter 

of Man. 

With respect to the character of man, knowing and 
feeling as we do, in every sentiment of our minds, in evexj 
impression on our senses, our liability both to false im- 
pressions and erroneous ideas, and that these are compe- 
tent to urge men to act and suffer to the same extent an 
the most accurate impressions, and the most mathematical 
conclusions ; that is, that men are, and have been in all 

* M^. xii. 8. f Matt. ▼• 34. 


agesy as ready to become martyrs for falsehood as for 
truth: We ask. 

How could sufferings, either voluntarily or involuntarily 
incurred, supply any sort of attestation to a doctrine? 

If such sufferings be voluntarily incurred, when they 
might as well have been avoided, what is to excuse such 
wanton and useless suicide? 

Surely the act of suicide is precisely the same, if a man 
rushes on a drawn sword, which he sees held in another 
man's hand, as if he held the sword himself. — And, 

What right can any man have to expect that other men 
should believe him affirming to a fact upon the testimony 
of his senses, when they see him setting the testimony of 
his senses at defiance, and not himself subscribing to the 
argument of pain and smarting ? 

If such sufferings were involuntary, where could be the 
merit, or what proof of the sincerity of the sufferers could 
they involve ? 

If such sufferings, in the natural course of things, were 
inevitable upon the conduct which the first preachers 
of the Grospel adopted, and God be believed to be the 
author and director of the natural course of things, what 
stronger proof could God himself be conceived to give us 
that that conduct was wrong, and that that religion, which 
could only be propagated by such conduct, was false ? 

Nor should we overlook the palpable injustice of the 
argument built upon the foitg ago, and probably greatly 
exaggerated sufferings, of the martyrs of Christianity, but 
which takes no account of the sincerity and self-denial of 
Its conscientious victims ; that sympathises; like Nero, in 
dramatic griefs, but foi^ets its own Oakham ; weeps for 
die scratched finger of any of its own faction, but is at 
ease in an aceldama of persecuted infidels. 

Extraordinary fortitude, exhibited under great and cruel 
sufferings, could only be considered as involving an argu« 
ment for the truth of the Christian religion, on the sup- 
position that such fortitude was properly and strictly 
fkiraculous ; a supposition directly outraging all notions of 
dither goodness or justice in the Deity who should choose 
to work a sanguinary and horrible miracle, when he might 
at once have better accomplished the same effect by better 
means. — And, 

Lastly, in the case of Judas Iscariot, as given in the 
Acts of the Apostles, we have the judgment of the whole . 


apostolic college on the side of oar propoeition ;* tho hor- 
nble and cruel death of the traitor being there apecificall)^ 
adduced as an argument of the diraie displeasure agamst 
him ; thereby demonstrating that, in the judgment of (ke 
apostles themselyes, the coming to a bad end should be 
read to the diametrically opposite inference of that .of 
martyrdom ; that we should rather conclude^ that ^' so 
bad a death argues a monstrous life ;" and that the good 
and gracious Father of mankind would never have su&ved 
those who had sought to please him, or preached a doc- 
trine that was agreeable to him, to have had any occaaion 
to suffer for it. 

II. That the argument of martyrdom is absolutely not true. 

Is demonstrable, distinctively, on these four grounds: 
1st, That it is contrary to nature ; 2nd, That it is contrary 
to the general tenor of the New Testament itself; dd. That 
it is contrary to the evidence of history ; 4th, That it is 
positively denied by the very authorities on whose testi- 
mony alone it could be pretended. 

1st. It is contrary to nature. — Creduli^ and easiness of 
belief are the essential characteristics oi man, and espe- 
cially of ignorant man. 

There was nothing, and could have been nothing in the 
lives and conduct of such men as we must suppose the 
first preachers of Christianity to have been, but musi have 
been calculated to win all men's hearts, and have made 
them the great objects of favour, admiration, love, and 
confidence. It is as impossible but that they must have 
found friends, as it is impossible that Christianity could 
have been propagated, ii they had not done so. We 
might as well believe in St Angus tin's men and women 
without heads, as imagine that there were ever men^ or 
whole races of men, without the natural affections and 
ratioi]^ faculties that constitute men ; or that, being such, 
they should be insensible of the virtue, goodness, wisdom, 
eaid miraculous gifts of the first preachers of the purest and 
best doctrine that ever was in the world, or have suffered 
such men to undergo any sort of wrong or oppression 
whatever. It outrages probability ; it is unnatural ; it is 
impossible ; it is inconceivable ; it is the sheer end of all 
discourse of reason. 

* Of eottfie making the aiiamptioii, tlut there were auch penou, And thit 
amk wen tMr acts and oounaeU, mrgumetUi grmtim. 


I. It is contrary to the general tetnor of the New Testa- 
ment itulf: in that the Gospel of St. Luke is addressed to 
the most excellent Tfaeophilus, a person of rank and dis- 
tinction sufficient to prove that the Grospel, at the time of 
writing it, enjoyed the patronage of the great : in that 
Christ, by express precept, instructs his disciples, that if 
iity should be persecuted m ome city they should^ to another 
^Matt.x.23); a precept impl3ring, not only that perseca«- 
tion would never be general; but authoriiing and com- 
manding them not to suffer themselves to be persecuted, 
bat to get out of the way of it, even by having recourse to 
a lie or a shirk, when occasion should call for it : which is 
necessarily included in every act of absconding or flight. 

Jesus Christ, by palpable example, shews that he would 
father have seen the whole world perish than he would 
have been crucified, if he could by any means, fair or foul, 
have made his escape ; and submitted at last to drink the 
cup only because it was impossible that it should pass 
from him. 

The Apostle Peter asks of the Christians to whom his 
epistles are addressed, '' Who is he that will harm you, tfye 
be followers of that which is good ?"* a sort of challenge which 
could not have been given if the Christians ever bad been 
called to suffer on account of their religion merely, or 
were in any state of liability to suffer on that account. 

The Apostle Paul, in the last authentic account of him, 
is described as existing in a state of perfect security and 
independence in Rome, tinder the government of Nero 
himself, and is so far from charging even that worst of all 
the Roman emperors with the spirit of religious intoler- 
ance, that he speaks of him as the minister ofOod, not a ier* 
ror to good works, but to the evil;'^ a sort or language and 
doctrine that leaves us no alternative, but that either the 
tdiole of ecclesiastical history is a tissue of falsehood, or 
the New Testament is no better. 

3d. It is contrary to the evidence of history. — Such aban- 
doned and unpnncipled wretches as the state justly 
punished for their crimes, would ^adly be thought martyrs 
rather than felons; they vcould accuse their judges — as 
what felons would not— of partiality, and of condemning 
them for being Christians, especially as there were never 
wanting a number of persons sufficiently stupid and 
wicked to think that Christianity itself gave them a right 

*lFMeruLl3. f IUNBansziU.3. 


and priyilege to commit crimes with impunity (a notion that 
wants not countenance in the New Testament itself*) ; 
and these persons^ when suffering the due reward of th^ 
deeds, would not fail to claim and receive the credit of 
being martyrs. The offensive conduct of such penMHUi 
could not have failed to have occasioned innumerable 
mistakes, in wliich the innocent may have suffered with 
the guilty, and the Pagans may, upon the stimulus of in^ 
tense provocation, have taken sometimes severe and ex^ 
oessive revenge on the insults put on their religion. A 
Jeffieries, a Bonnor, or a ci^ of London Recorder, f miglit 
occasionally have sat on a Fagan bench, but it does not 
iqppear that the Roman senate or magistracy, generally, 
ever lent countenance to any public measures of religious 
persecution. The code of Roman laws contains not a 
vestige of any statute that was ever enacted against 
Christians. Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, the Antonines, and 
Julian, were men of the nicest sense of honour, and of so 
strict and passionate an attachment to the principle of 
Justice^ that it is rather conceivable that they would have 
suffered martyrdom themselves than have put it into the 
power of their worst enemy to attaint the purity of their 
administration. '^ If a man were called to fix the period 
in the history of the worid during which the condition of 
the human race was most happy and prosperous) he would 
without hesitation name that which elapsed from the death 
of Domitian to the accession of Commodus.^j: 

That period embraces eighty-four years, from the 96th 
of the Christian era to the 180th, during which reigned 
Nerva, Trajan, Adrian, Antoninus Pius, and Antoninus 
the Philosopher. Nor can any age or any country in the 
world boast of a succession of reigning princes of equal 
virtue, wisdom, and humanity. The best of our most reli- 
gious and gracious kings that ever swayed the sceptre over 
a Christian people, was never worthy to be compared with 
any one of these successively excellent sovereigns. ** The 
edicts of Adrian and Antoninus Pius expressly declared, 
that the voice of the multitude should never be admitted 
as legal evidence to convict or to punish the unfortunate 

• *< Tli# blo6d tff Jciut Cbiist clMnietb from all sia." (1 John i. 7.)— <« U 
mu uorightaouneM oomiMiidadi tht rigbteousnesB of God." (Rom. iii. h.) 

t The litUe barbariaa, in callin; for JBdgment on the aatbor, pleaded lor 
tha expediency of riolent and corporeal punishment, on Feb. 7, 18S8. 

t Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. I, p. 126. 


persons who had embraced the eDthusiasm of the Chris- 

What extraordinary motiye^ what new and never before 
heard of spring of human action can have been brought 
into play, to set men all at once persecuting the very ImmC 
of religions, who had never persecuted any other that evor 
was in the worid ; and to induce those unquestionably wise 
and good men, whose justice and generosity had never 
been impeached till then, just then to lay aside their ju»« 
tice and generosity, to be wise and good men no longer, 
but to be converted into persecutors, and to become 
enemies to the death of the meek and innocent fol- 
lowers of an offenceless faith ? Surely here is proUem 
without solution, effect without cause, and improbability, 
without evidence. To believe that the first preacheis ef 
Christianity, or their immediate successors, were the vie* 
tims of persecution, we must shut out the evidence of aU 
other histories but such as they themselves put into our 
hands, and determine to believe not only without evidence, 
but in direct contradiction to it Nor even will such a 
degree of obstinacy make sure worit for our persuasioB 
that the Christians generally testified their sincerity by 
martyrdom, since, 

4th. It u positively denied by the very authorities on whose 
testimony alone it could be pretended^ — ^ In the time of Ter* 
tullian and Clemens of Alexandria, the glory of martyrdom^ 
with the universal consent of the Christian community, 
was confined to the singularly distinguished personages 
St Peter, St Paul, and St. James."t 

St. James is said to have been murdered by St Pavl, 
and therefore his death ought not to be laid to the charge 
of Pagan persecution. 

The martjrrdom of St Peter and St. Paul is contrary to 
the indications of the New Testament itself, and rests on 
no better credit than that of the apostolic history of Abdia% 
which tiie church has rejected as apocryphaL 

^^ Diony sius, the firiend of Origen, reckons in the immense 
city of Alexandria, and under the rigorous persecution of 
Decius, only ten men, and seven women, who suffered finr 
the profession of the Christian name ;" and Origen himself 
declares, in the most express terms, that the numb^ of 
martyrs was very inconsioerable. 


* Gibbon, vol. 2, p. A/H, t Ibid, vol. 2, p. 427. 

984 rai AReUMfiNT op MAETYEiXnV. 

Specimens of Martyrology. 

The Roman legends tell of ten thousand Christian sol- 
diers who were crucified in one day by order of the Edh 
peror Trajan, or Adrian, on Mount Ararat ; on the stiongth 
of no better authority than which, our church of Engfauid 
daily repeats Ae palpable and egregious falsehood, '* Tkt 
noble army of martyrs praise thee /" The fact itsetf is cf 
such a nature, eyen in the judgment of sincere Christiaiis, 
as to be pronounced not only not true, but utterly, physi- 
cally and morally, impossible to be true. 

And of this character, and no better, are all the stories 
of martyrdom endured by Polycarp, Ignatius, and othen^ 
under the humane and just Trajan, and the martyrdoms of 
Sanctns, Maturus, Pothinus, Ponticus, Attains, Blandin% 
and all the martyrs of Vienna and Lyons, who, if we wQl 
bdieve Eusebius, Addison, and, I blush to say, Lardmr, 
suffered under the administration of Antoninus Veros, 
were fryed to death in red hot iron chairs, and suffered 
such torments, as to be sure it was physiodly impossible 
that they should have suffered. 

'' The holy martyrs," says the reracious historian, ^' uih 
derwent such torments as are aboTe all description." How- 
ever he makes an attempt to describe them, and tells us, 
that '^ the tormentors who were employed to torment (the 
yxrang lady) Blandina, tortured her aU manner of ways 
jrom morning till erening, relieving each other by turns, 
till they themselves became feeble and faint with exertion, 
and acknowledged themselves overcome, there being 
nothing more that they could do to her ; and they won- 
dered tiiat she had any breath left, her whole body having 
been tortured and mangled ; and they declared, that any 
one torture used by them was sufficient to deprive her of 
life, much more so many and so great. But that blessed 
woman renewed her strength, and it was a refreshment and 
ease to her ; and though her whole body was tome to pieces; 

Ct by pronouncing the words, ' I am a Christian, neither 
ve we committed any evil,' she was immediately recreated 
and refreshed, and felt no pain. So after the executioners 
had given up the business of attempting to kill her, which 
they were by no means able to accomplish, she was hung 
up in chains, dangling witiiin the reach of wild beasts. 
And this, no doubt, was so done by the ordinance of Grod, 
Aat she, hanging in the form of a cross, might, by her in- 
t prayers, procure cheerfulness of mind to the suf- 


feiing saints. After she bad bung thas a long while, and 
the wild beasts bad not ventured to touch her, she was 
tak^i down and cast into prison, to be reserved for further 
torments; where she still continued preaching and en- 
couraging her fellow ChristianSy rejoicing and triumphing 
in all that she bad gone through, as if she bad only been 
invited to a wedding dinner : whereupon they broiled her 
vriiole body in a frying-pan ; which she not at all regarding, 
they took her out and wrapt her in a net, and cast her into 
a mad bull, who foamed and tossed her upon his horns to 
and fro, yet had she no feeling of pain in all these things, 
h^ mind being wholly engaged in conference with Christ 
So that at length, when no more could be done unto her, 
she was beheaded, the Pagans themselves confessing) that 
never any woman was heard of among them to have suf-' 
fered so many and so great torments/'* 

As for Sanctus, deacon of Vienna, when there was 
nothing more that they could do to him, *^ they clapped red 
hot plates of brass upon the most tender parts of his body, 
which fryed, seared, and scorched him aU over, yet re» 
mained be immoveable and undaunted, being cooled, 
refreshed, and strengthened with heavenly dews of the 
water of life gushing from the womb of Christ r\- his body 
being all over wound and scar, contracted and drawn toge- 
dier, having lost the external shape of a man. In whom 
Qirist suffering, performed great wonders : for when those 
wicked men began again to torture him, supposing that if 
they should make use of the same torture, while his body 
was swollen, and his wounds inflamed, they should master 
him, or that he would die, not only no such thing happened, 
but, beyond all men^s expectation, by those latter tor- 
ments his body got relief from all the disease it had con- 
tracted by what he had before suffered ; he recovered the 
use of his limbs which he had lost ; he got rid of his pains ; 
so that, through the grace of Christ, the second torture that 
they put him to, proved to be a remedy and a cure to him, 
instead of a punishment"! 

* Quoted from Eiuebiiiii by Lardoer, toI. 4, p. 83, and reviied from the ori- 
ginal bj the author. Notwithatandiog the graTity of Lardner and Addiwn ob 
this tabject, I mightily suspect that Ihit Lady Blandina was nothing dee than 
a ShroTC-Tnesday pancake ;— a sort of Sir John Barleycorn. She would not 
be tlie first dirine suffnrer who had been made of a bit of doughs — Compart 
with pp. 58, and 238, of this Dibomis* 

t The womb ^f Christ : so Dr. Hanmar renders it. It is not the only p s i iaf e 
which serves to render the sex of Chrbt eciui?ocal. 

t Lardner's translatlony ae te as it is followed, vol. 4, p.87 ; the reek orl* 
giaal, from Snseb. Eecl. Hist. lib. 5, e. 1. 


Such is a fair specimen of ecclesiastical history, asd 
such the trash which must be held to be credible, it thb 
argument of martyrdom be so. 

Against such evidence, which may well be considered 
as setting comment at defiance, wo every now and tben 
stumble on admissions of the Christian Fathers themselves 
that entirely exonerate the Pagan magistracy, not only 
from such charges as might be inferred from any suppose- 
aUe ground or outline of original truth in such narrations 
as these, but which clear them from all suspicion of ev^ 
having countenanced persecution on the score of religion, 
in any case whatever. Tertullian challenges the Roman 
Senate to name him one of their emperors, on whose reign 
they themselves had not set a stigma, who had ever per- 
secuted the Christians; and the modest and rational 
Melito, bishop of Sardis, in applying for redress (which 
was instantly granted) to Marcus Antoninus from some 
grievances which religious people at that time had cause 
to complain of, expressly states, that a similar cause <rf 
ciMnplaint had never before existed. 

Even if the evidence of the reality of martyrdoms in- 
curred for the conscientious maintenance of the Christian 
faith in former times, were a thousand* fold more than it 
is (which it could easily be), or more than is pretenctod 
(which it could not easUy be) it surely could not avail 
against the evidence of our own absolute experience, that 
the merit of this argument in our times, stands altogether 
and exclusively on the side of infidelity. None are the 
persecutors but Christians themselves. None are the vic- 
tims of persecution, or liable to be so, but the conscientious 
and honourable opponents of Christianity. It is the 
deniers and impugners of revelation, who alone give 
evidence of sincere conviction, in the voluntary abdica- 
tion of station and aflluence, and in the endurance of the 
most cruel and trying sufierings. It is our own times that 
have witnessed the virtue that has preferred the cell of 
solitary confinement, and the fate of felons and culprits 
with an approving conscience, to the professorial chair, 
the rector*s mansion, or the prebendal stall, that might 
have been held as the wages of iniquity. 

They are Christians, and of Christians the loudest and 
most ostentatious professors of Christianity, who alone 
discover the dispositions and tempers of persecutors, and 
axe, of all persecutors, the most implacable, most cruel, 
most inexorable.— While those who are most conspicuous 

THE AR08T0L1C PATH£B9. 287 

in their professions of deprecating persecution, and who 
'' lament that ever the arm of the law should be called in 
to vindicate their cause/' deprecate and lament it avow- 
edly on no other ground than that of their fear that it 
should render its victims objects of a pity and sympathy 
of which themselves are incapable. — In their own right 
charitable phrase, they fear lest persecution should '' go 
near to place the martyr^s crown on the loathsome hydra of 
infidelity ;" that is, they are not sorry for the sufferer, but 
they are sorry that any body else should be sorry for 
him. They would not spare the poor victim a single 
pang, nor take a knot out of the lash that is laid on him, 
nor whisper a comfortable syllable in his ear, nor reach a 
cup of water to his lip, nor wipe away a tear from his cheek, 
nor soothe his fainting spirit with a sigh ; — but they are 
sorry for the disturbance of the welkin — they begrudge 
him the pity and compassion due to his sorrows. U some 
way could be invented to do the business without a noise^ 
it seems, for all their charity, it might be very well done. 

One might fill libraries with works of Christian divines 
in protest against the principle of persecution — one act 
of any Christian divine whatever, in accordance with the 
sincerity of such a protest, would be one more than the 
world has ever heard of. Never did the sun see a Chris- 
tian hand drawn out of the bosom to prevent persecution, 
to resist its violence, to say to it what doest thou ? or to redress 
the wrong that it had done. — Of what, then are such pro- 
tests evidence — ^but of the foulest, the grossest hypocrisy / 
— hypocrisy, than which imagination can conceive no 
greater. — 2 James, xv. 16. 

The demonstrations of Euclid, therefore, are not moie 
mathematically complete than the ratiocinative certainty 
that the whole argument of martyrdom, upon which the 
most popular treatises on the evidences of the Christian 
religion are founded, is as false as God is true. 



Thb Apostolic Fathers, is the honourable distinction given 
to those orthodox professors of the Christian reUgion, vi4io 
are believed to have lived and vnritten at some time within 


the first hundred years, so as to stand within a oonceiT- 
able probability of having seen or conversed with somG or 
other of the twelve apostles^ and to have received thrar 
doctrine thus immediately from the fountain heads. 

There are upwards of seventy claimants of this hoDonr^ 
exclusive of such as the pseudo Linus, and Abdias, bishop 
of Babylon, who pretends to have seen Christ himself 
though no such person, no such bishop, and no such 
bishopric ever existed. The majority of these are mere 
imaginary names of imaginary persons, whose various ac- 
tions and sufferings are altogether the creation of romance. 
The historians of the first three centuries of Christianity 
have taken so great a licence in this way, as that no one 
alleged fact standing on their testimony can be said to 
have even a probable degree of evidence. The most candid 
and learned even of Christian inquirers, have admitted, 
that antiquity is most deficient just exactly where it is 
most important ; that there is absolutely nothing known 
of the church history in those times on which a rational 
man could place any reliance ; and that the epocha when 
Christian truth first dawned upon the world, is appro- 
priately designated as the ^e of Fable.* 

The title of Apostolic Fathers, is given only to the 
five individuals, St. Barnabas, St. Clement, St Hermas, 
St Ignatius, and St Polycarp, of whom the three former 
have honourable mention in the New Testament; the two 
latter are believed to have suffered martyrdom, and each 
is supposed to be the author of the respective epistles 
which have come down to us under their names, which, 
notwithstanding, the church has seen reason to take for 
no better than they are — mpemumerary forgeries. Had 
they, however, been retained in the canon of sacred Scrip- 
ture, we should have had folios of evidence in demonstra- 
tion of their authenticity ; and withal the demonstration 
(which all religionists appeal to whenever they can) of 
penalties* fines, imprisonment, and infinite persecution, on 
all who had understanding and integrity to treat them 
with the contempt which every thing of the kind merits. 

ST. BARNABAS — Bishop of Milan, 

Was a Levite of the country of Cyprus, and one of those 
Christians who, having land, sold it, and brought the 

* Remm geitanim fidet exinde gnTiter labonrerit nee ori>tt terraniin Umtiim 
Md el Dei eccleaui de temporibus luii myitieis merito quenitar.— 2>r. FtH, Bisktf 


money and laid it at the apostles' feet ; whereupon they 
dianged his name from Joses into Barnabas^ which sig^i- 
fteft the son of ennsolation. So that he literally bought his apos- 
tleship ; and having gratified the avarice of the holy con* 
dave, their historian bears him the honourable testimony, 
that he was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of faith. 
('Acts xi. 24.) St. Clement of Alexandria has often quoted 
the epistle that goes under his name as the composition of 
an inspired apostle. In the catalogue of Dorotheus it is 
aaid, ** Barnabas was a minister of the word together with 
Paul ; he preached Christ first at Rome, and was after- 
wards made bishop of Milan :*' and in the translator's pre* 
foce to that catalogue, it is asserted, on I know not what 
authority, that Barnabas had a rope tied about his neck, 
and was therewith pulled to the stake and burned. We 
have no account of any miracles which Barnabas wrought 
in his lifetime, which seems rather hard dealing with him 
on the part of the apostolic firm, since he had paid a very 
handsome consideration to be admitted into full partner- 
ship. The amende honourable was made to his relics in 
after ages ; they became wonderfully efficacious in healing 
all manner of diseases. His dead body had the distin- 
guished honour of giving a certificate to the genuineness 
of the gospel of St. Matthew, which was found lying upon 
bis breast, written in his own band, when his body was 
dug up in the island of Cyprus, so late as the year of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesas Christ, 489 ;* so rapidly was the 
Christian faith, and consequently the efficacy of the relics 
of the saints, extending. 

''Any one who reads the Epistle of Barnabas with but a 
small degree of attention," says Dr. Lardner," will perceive 
in it many Pauline phrases and reasonings. To give the 
character of the author of it, in one word, he resembles 
St. Paul, as his fellow labourer, without copying him/* 

Paley quotes only the single passage from the apocry- 
phal epistle, which, he says, is probably genuine, ascribed 
to the aposde Barnabas, containing the words, '' Finally 
teaching the people of Israel, and doing many wonde)^ 
and signs among them ; he (Christ) preached to them, and 
showed the exceeding great love which he bare towards 


* Sigebertam Gemblacensem ad a.c. 489, itemqae alios legas sub Zenonls 
imperioin insalaCvpro repertum'S. BamabcB corpus, et super pectore ejus, 
ETaiiffeliiiiii S. MattMBi tSurypafop tov Bapifafiew^FabricH, torn. I , p. 341 . 

t Paley'sETid. rol. I, p. 119. 



To SO clear and distinct a testimony to Christ and Im 
miracles, I subjoin an equally sublime specimen of ihim 
apostle's inspired reasoning, from Archbishop Wake's 
translation : — 

" Understand therefore, my children, these things mom 
folly, that Abraham, who was the first that brought m 
circumcision, looking forward in the spirit to Jeans cmoi^ 
fied, received the mystery of three letters; for the Scriptme 
says, that Abraham circumcised three hundred paA 
eighteen men of his house. But what, therefore, was- As 
mystery that was made known unto him? Mark, first, the 
eighteen, and next the three hundred: for the niiiMisI 
letters of ten and eight are I H, and these denote Jenri $ 
and because the cross was that whereby we were to find 
grace, therefore he adds three hundred, the note of whick 
is T ; wherefore, by two letters he signifies Jesus, and bj 
the third, his cross. 

^^ He who has put the engrafted gift of his doctrine 
within us, knows that I never taught to any one a mona 
certain tnith than this ; but I trust that ye are worthy 
of it.* 

** Consider how God hath joined both the cross and ths 
water together ; for thus he saith, blessed are they who 
put their trust in the cross, and descend into the watar.f 

*^ Jesus Christ is the heifer; the wicked men who were 
to ofier it, were those sinners who brought him to death-. t 

^^ But why were there three young men appointed tS 
sprinkle ? Why, to denote Abraham, Isaac, and Jaoobi 
And why was the wool put upon a stick ? Why, but becanss 
the kingdom of Jesus Christ was founded upon wood*! 
Blessed be our Lord, who has given us this wisdom, and 
a heart to understand his secrets." § 


Bishop of Rome- 

St. Clement is with great confidence considered to bs 
the individual honourably mentioned by St. Paul in those 
words, '^ help those women which laboured with me in the 
Gospely with Clement also, and with other my fellow labowrtrs 
whose names are m the book of life.*' || He is ordinarily 

* Bariiabas*s Catholic EpiAt. in Wake, p. 176. 

t Ibid. p. 180. X Ibid, p. 174. 

S Ibid. p. 169. II Phil. IT. 3. 


called Clemens Romofius, as having been bishop of Rome, in 
the fiiBt century, to distinguish him from the no less illus- 
trious Clemens Alexandrinus, who was bishop of Alexandria, 
about a hundred years after. In the Chronography gener- 
ally attached to Evagrius's Ecclesiastical History, his 
Bame is arranged as third in succession of the bishops of 
Borne from St. Peter, the order standing thus : St. Peter, 
St« linus, St. Annicetus, or Anencletus, St. Clement** 
There is but one ancient manuscript of his writings in 
esistence :t his iGrst epistle only is held to be genuine. 
Measureless are the forgeries which Christian piety and 
conscientiousness bad for ages put upon the world under 
Us name. 

I| 18 not without shrewd reason that the epistle which 
Paley quotes has been rejected from the place which it 
for many ages held in the volume of the New Testament 

., ISbe passage, however, generally adduced from this 
epiatle to prove the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul, 
if too bri^f, and too evidently itself taken from some 
other authority, to admit of the fact being received on the 
evidence of this one single sentence, in one solitary manu- 
flcript of an author upon whom so many Christian forge- 
nee have been committed. 

,. Clement evidently refers to some existing and generally 
leceived accounts of the martyrdom of St. Peter and 
St Paul, of which accounts his Philippian converts must 
have been in possession ere they could be thus loosely 
and generally called on to " take them as examples.'' 
' . Of the martjrrdom of St. Paul, not the least account is 
traceable in the new Testament ; but the very reverse of 
the probability of such a consummation of his history is 
indicated in the last allusion to him which the sacred text 
contains : '^ And Paul dtoelt two whole years in his oion hired 
ioute, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the 
kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the 
Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no man forbidding him,*' 
"•!-nAct8 xxviii. 31. 

This, in Rome — this, under the reign of the tyrant 
Nero— this, when the tyrant Nero was not only reigning, 
Imt resident in Rome, unquestionably looks much askew 

' * " Ae lud been first bUbop of Sardis, and was afterwards translated to tbe 
ore lucrative see of Rome." — Doroihe%u» So early wa^) the office of a bishop 
good thing! 

^ Lardner, toI. 1, p. 290. 



OD the probability of those horrible stories of peaceably 
and quietly conducted Christians being put -to such Im- 
rible torments^ as the interest of those who would hamiw 
up our feelings with those stories^ requires us to believe. - 

Of the martyrdom of St. Peter, in like manner, the oaly 
authentic record in the case deposeth not a syllable. The 
last mention of his name in the canonical Acts of the 
Apostles informs us, that after having successfully set 
the power of the magistrates at defiance, burst out-of 
chains that ''fell off from his hands" and passed through 
an iron gate, '^ which opened to him of his own accord, he weni 
down from Judaa to Ccesarea, and there abode J** This is the 
scriptural account of the matter; and though no stcwyia 
the Arabian Nights Entertainments could possibly be 
more absurd, yet nothing in ecclesiastical history oooU 
be more authentic. 

On what authority, then, can St. Clement be suf^pesed 
to remind the Philippians, that *^ Peter, by unjust enyy^ 
underwent not one or two, but many sufierings, till at last, 
being martyred, he went to the place of glory that was 
due unto him ;" and that *^ Paul, in like manner, at last 
suffered martyrdom by the command of the governors, aad 
departed out of the world, and went unto his ho]y place, 
being become a most eminent pattern of patience untaall 
ages?" Surely the modernism of this manner of descrip- 
tion must strike almost the dullest apprehension. Here 
are neither place, nor time, nor circumstance specified, as 
we should look for them in an historical statement And 
'' by the command of the governors," forsooth ! • Oh, yes ; 
any governors you please : Bonaparte, . or the Great 
Mogul, 1 suppose. It is outrageous romance ! 

The merit of the invention, however, belongs to other 
hands. It will be found, on a critical investigation, that 
the source from whence Clement drew, and from which Js 
derived also the common belief that the aposties sufferad 
martyrdom, is the Famous and Renowned Apostolic 
History of Abdias, the first bishop of Babylon, who (ifwe 
will believe,) had been ordained immediately by the apes* 
ties themselves, and who with his ovm eyes had seen the 

These ten books of Abdias, though rejected entirely by 
the shrewder prudence of modern Christianity, contain the 
continuance of that broken and irregular jumble of the real 
journal of some Egyptian missionaries with the fabnlmu 

* AcUzii. 


adventures of imaginary apostles, which the church retains 
under the name of the Acts of the Apostles. 

Nothing can be more sophistical than the whole plan of 
reasoning, and system of exhibition observed throughout 
the laborious volumes of Lardner. His method is to sift 
the works of- these Fathers for any expression of similar 
character or cast of thought to such as are found in the 
New Testament, upon which similarity he would draw 
the inference that they must have read the New Testa- 
ment and have held it in the light of a divine revelation ; 
while he passes over the egregious anachronisms, the 
gross blunders, and the monstrous absurdities, which 
show those writings to be such as any one who sincerely 
wished to serve the Christian cause would wish had 
neVer existed. As they appear in Lardner's management, 
the reader is deceived into an apprehension that they 
were at least respectable. 

St. Paul's 1st Epistle to the Corinthians is the only 
tMM>k of the New Testament quoted by Clement. As 
a parallel to I Cor. xv. 20, " But now is Christ risen from 
the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept^* 
Dr. Lardner quotes from the 24th chapter of the first of 
Clement, the words, ^' Let us consider, beloved, how the 
Lord does continually show us that there shall be a resur- 
lection, of which he has made the Lord Jesus Christ the 
first fruits, having raised him from the dead ;" where, in 
the same chapter of Clement, follows an argument from 
9udsy resembling St. Paul's, 1 Cor. xv. 86, 37, 38 ; but 
where Dr. Lardner wholly omits to let us know that 
Clement's main argument lor the resurrection is not taken 
from the celebrated Idth chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to 
the Romans, but from the no less celebrated and far more 
entertaining 15th book of Ovid's Metamorphoses,* where 
is the whole story of the phoenix regenerating itself from 
its own ashes, and returning every five hundred years, to 
die and revive again in the flames upon the idolatrous 
altars of the temple of the sun : — an argument which it is 
ntterly impossible that St. Clement could have used, had 
the gospels then in existence been considered as of higher 
credibility than the stories of Ovid, or had he himself 
believed that the resurrection of Christ was more probable 
tiian the fable of the phoenix. 

* H«c tamen ex alus dncunt primordia rebus ; 
Una e«t que reparet seqne ipsa reseminet, ales : 
Assyrii Fbcenica Tocant. Ovid, Metamorph. lib. lb, line 39 1« 

» •' 



Bishop of Fhilipolis, 

Who is sedated by St. Paul^ in his Epistle to the RoouuiSy 
and whose work entitled 'The Pastor, or S/tepherd, ymm, in 
the time of Eusebius, publicly read in the churches,* aiftd 
in the judgment of Origen was held to be divinely intpbnei;^ 
deserves all the respect due to an author who conf citofl i 
himself to be a mlful asserter of known falsehood. 
Lardncr^ who makes large extracts from his writiDgs, to 
prove thereby the credibility of the gospel history; has the 
disingenuineness to conceal, and pass over entirely aDBO- 
ticcd, this characteristic feature of an authority tiial 
serves him well enough, at the time, to support his gos^ 
credibility, leaving the character of the holy Father out of 
all weight in the consideration of his testimony. 

I cannot scud this apostolic father and his divindy 
inspired book to their eternal rest, in the judgment of my 
readers, witii greater fairness, than by presenting dum 
with a chapter as a specimen. The annexed is the whde 
of the fourth chapter of the second book, from Archbishop 
Wake's translation : — 

" 1. Moreover, the angel said unto me. Love the truth, 
and let all the speech be true which proceeds out of thy 
mouth, that the spirit which the Lord hath given to dwefl 
in thy flesh, may be found true towards all men, and the 
Lord be glorified, who hath given such a spirit unto thee; 

^' 2. Because God is true in all his words, and in i*j» 
there is no lie ; 

" 3. They, therefore, that lie, deny the Lord, and become 
robbers of the Lord, not rendering to God what they 
received from him : 

" 4. For they received the spirit free from lying ; if, 
therefore, they make that a liar, they defile what was com- 
mitted to them by the Lord, and become deceivers. 

" 5. Wiien I heard this, I w^ept bitterly; and when the 
angel saw me weeping, he said unto me. Why weepest 

" 6. And I said. Because, sir, I doubt whether I can be 

" 7. He asked me. Wherefore ? 

" 8. I replied. Because, sir, I never spake a true word 
in my life, but always lived in dissimulation, and affirmed 

* Lardncr, vol. 1, p. 305. ^ iMd. p. 551. 


a lie for truth to all men, and no man contradicted me, 
but all gave credit to my word ; 

'' 9. How then can I live, seeing I have done in this 

• " 10. And the angel said unto me. Thou thinkest well 
and truly ; 

>' IL For thou oughtest, as the servant of God, to have 
walked in the truth, and not have joined an evil consci- 
ence with the spirit of truth, nor have grieved the holy 
and true Spirit of God. 

. ** 12. And I replied unto him. Sir, I never before heark- 
ened so diligently unto these things. 

** 13. He answered me. Now thou bearest them, take 
care firom henceforth, that even those things which thou 
kast formerly spoken falsely for the sake of thy business, 
may by thy present truth receive credit ; 

• 'M4. For even those things may be credited, if, for the 
time to come, thou shalt speak the truth ; and by so doing 
tiion mayest attain unto life. 

** 15. And whosoever shall hearken unto this command 
and do it, and shall depart from all lying, be shall live 
onto God." 

St. Hermas was evidently a Gnostic, or one of the 
knowing ones. " His principle/* says Beausobre, " was, 
that faith was only fit for the rabblement, but that a wise 
man should conduct himself by his knowledge only."* 
He seems to have escaped martydom. 

ST. POLYCARP, A. D. 108. 

Bishop of Smyrna. 

^* It is a thing confessed and lamented by the gravest 
divines of the Roman Catholic communion, that the names 
and worship of man}f pretended saints, who never had a real 
existence, had been fraudulently imposed upon the 
church."t I commend not my suspicions that this Polycarp 
may be one of the unreal order, but leave the reader to 
give all the respect he can afford to the testimony that 
would subdue our reason to a belief that a venerable 
inoffensive old man, who, after having lived in undis- 

* Hermes... .Gnostique. Son principe est que la foi ne convient qu au 
peuple; noe le sage se conduit par la sdeuce. — Ueaus, torn 2, p. 731. 
t Dr. Middleton'i Preface to bis Letter from Rome, p. 59. 


tarbed tranquillity in his bishopric under a Nero aiid» 
Domitian> should have been dragged, in the 86th yemt of 
his age, to the cruel death of fire under the goyemment 
of the philosophic Antoninus, and by the magistracy, tobe. 
sure, of that old rascal again, Herod,* I dare say the 
same who slew the children in Bethlehem : for chronology, 
has nothing to do with matters of faith. ^' Then came there 
a voice from heaven," so runs the sacred story, ^* saying,- 
Be of good cheer, Polycarp, and play the man."t 

'* The proconsul demanded of him, whether he were that 
Polycarp, beckoning that he should deny it, and. adding, 
^ Consider thine age — swear by the fortune of Caesar l 
repent thee of what is past; say, Remove the wicked.' 
But Polycarp exclaimed, ' O Lord, remove these wicked ;' 
and, after concluding a mystical prayer with the nana! 
doxology at the end of a modem sermon, he was conunitted 
to the flames ; but the flaming fire framing itself after the 
form of a vault, or sail of a ship, refused to bum so good 
a man ; upon which a tormentor was ordered to be fetched, 
to whom they gave charge to lance him in the side with a 
spear, which, when, he had done, such a stream of blood, 
issued out of his body, that the fire was therewith quench-, 
ed.j: So that the whole multitude marvelled such a pre- 
eminence to be grants and difierence to be showed between 
the infidel and the faithful and elect people of God, of 
which number this Polycarpus was one, a right apostolic 
and prophetical doctor of our time, bishop of the catholic 
church of Smyrna. § But the Devil procured that his 
body should not be found, for many endeavoured and 
fully purposed to hold communion with his blessed flesh. 
But certain men suggested to Nicetas, the father of Herod, 
and his brother Dalces, to move the proconsul not to give 
up his body, lest the Christians, as they said, should leave 
the crucified, and begin to worship Polycarp." It is 
added, that he sufiiered with twelve others who came out 
pf Philadelphia. 

There has been a great deal of the well-known Unita- 

* Kflu vrrjtna avru o tifnfycfpxos ¥L(wStis, — Eed. Hist, lib. 4, p. 97. 

f Urxvf TloXweoffm kcu atf^iou, — Euteh, lib. 4, c» 14, p. 96, E. 

X " Who would have thought that the old man had had so much blood in 
him V* "Macbeth, 

$ O 8c oamginXos mat, 0affKc»os km xorjipos aaniKtifuwos — fdofy ro /i«y«5ot flwrt* 
rjis fiofrrvpias — frrn)8cv0'cy ws firi ro voffAariov avrov u^' fiftwr Xiy^^^fcir— icoivc^ 
ToKXtry tri^ftowrmy rovro trourmf Ktu KoiyatmfitrM avrou rw aym mpKim tnr«/8«AXor 
yow rufts piKffnfv rov rou HPfiAOT irortpa eu^k^ 8c 8a\inyt— i»f Tf pni Soww. 
07. K.—Buttb.Bcch Hut, lib. 4, c.;14, p. 99, lit. A. 


rian tact of probability ^ practised apoD our 
noords of the martyrdom of Polycarp. 

The original story unquestionably ran, that upon the 
piercing of the martyr's breast^ a dove was seen to fly out 
o£ his body. — See the text of Cotelerius, in his Apostolic 
Fathers ; and the remarks of Dr. Middleton, in his Free 
Inquiry. The important fact is exscinded from its place 
mEusebiuSy for a sufficiently surmiseable purpose. It 
served its turn, while it would serve its turn ; but- it has 
become necessarv that the evidences of the Christian re- 
ligion should make some sort of peace with reason, and 
the most entertaining passages of sacred history are con- 
sequently to be sacrificed. Some divines are even for 
expunging the improbable parts of the New Testament 
itself. AlaSy what would they reduce it to ! 

In the teeth of such self-evident proof of a fictions 
character, and a fictions martyrdom, Dr. Lardner coolly 
tells usy that the relation of the martyrdom of Polycarp, 
written by the church of Smyrna, of which he was bishop, 
is an excellent piece, which may be read with pleasure 
by the English reader, in Archbishop Wake's Collection 
of the Lives of the Apostolic Fathers. 

The name of Polycarp, his bishopric, his martyrdom, 
are entirely unknown to rational or credible history. 

ST. IGNATIUS, A. D. 107, 

Is believed to have been bishop of Antioch in Syria, in 
the latter part of the first and beginning of the second 
century,* and is believed to have succeeded Euodius, who 
had been the first bishop of that see. The name Euodius 
occurs in the list of persons saluted by St Paul, and this 
seems to be the reason of Eusebius for making a bishop 
of him, though nothing is known of him but the name. 
** Beside the bishopric," says Lardner, ^* the martyrdom 
of this good man, Ignatius, is another of those few things 
concerning him which are not contradicted." Basnage, 
however, puts the year of Ignatius's death among die 
obscurities of chronology. Indeed^ those learned men 
who have attempted to fix the time, have no other grounds 
than the testimony of > Malala a barbarian of the sixth 
century, and the Acts or Martyrdom of Ignatius, the 
genuineness of which Lardner himself admits may be toell 
disputed. He concludes, however, that ^^ as the epistle^ 

* Lardner, vol. I, p. 313. 


Vfe now have of Ignatius are allowed to be genuine by a 
great number of learned men whose opinion I think to be 
founded upon probable arguments, I now proceed to qoote 
Ihem as his«'' * * 

. The name of Ignatius is only twice mentioned by 
Origen, and that in so cursory a manner as to preclude 
any inference that Origen himself had any certain know- 
ledge of his history. The whole story of his martyrdom 
is so utterly incongruous with time and circumstance, 
as to lead to no other rational conclusion than the ptobaF- 
bility that he is altogether the figment of that pious 
romance in which eoclesiasticcd historians have ever 
delighted — another name to be added to the long list of 
saints and martyrs, which even the more intelligent of 
Roman Catholic writers have been constrained to admit 
never existed at all, but. were the baseless fabric of a 
vision, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. 
The epistles ascribed to Ignatius are admitted by all parties 
to have been most extensively altered from the first or 
earlier drafts of them ; but such as they are, even on a 
momentary reverie of their supposeable genuineness, they 
aflford no testimony to any one of the essential facts of 
the Christian story. Written whenever, or by whomsoever 
we suppose them to be, 'tis certain that the writer held 
out nothing so little as the notion that the events on 
which the Gospel is founded, had ever really happened. 
Let his mode of reasoning tell its own story ! This it is. 
■ " Ignatius, which is called Theophorus,t to the church 
which is at Ephesus in Asia, most deservedly happy, 
being blessed through the greatness and fullness of Grod 
the Father, and predestinated before the world began, 
that it should be always unto an enduring and unchange- 
able glory, being united and chosen through his true 
passion, according to the will of the Father, and Jesus 
Christ our God ; all happiness by Jesus Christ and his 
undefiled grace.. . 

^' There is one physician, both fleshly and spiritual^ 
made and not made— God incarnate, true life in death, 
both of Mary and of God — first passible, then impas- 
sible, even Jesus Christ. 

*^ My soul be for yours ; and I myself the expiatory 

. . ^ Lardner's words, toI. 1. p. 316. 

t Tke9phorut, i. e. one who carries God within him — a name of the same 
Mode aa Prmse^God Barrbone, — another edition of Polycarp's intercostal 
pigeon ! 


offering for your clnirch of Ephesas^ so fiftmoas throughottt 
the world/' &c. 

' I9th Chapter. — " Now the virginity of Mary^ and he 
yfrtiO was bom of her^ was kept in secret from the prince 
of this worlds as was also the death of our Lord : three of 
the mysteries the most spoken of throughout the worid, 
yet done in secret by God. How then was onr Saviour 
msmifested to the world? A star shone in heaven beyond 
M the other stars, and its light was inexpressible, and its 
novelty struck terror into men's minds ; all the rest of the 
stars, together with the sun and moon, were the chorus to 
this star; but this star sent out its light exceedingly above 
them all, and men began to be troubled to think whence 
this new star came, so unlike to all the others. Hence 
all the power of magic became dissolved, and every bond 
of wickedness was destroyed ; men's ignorance was taken 
away, and the old kingdom abolished; God himself 
appearing in the form of a man, for the renewal of eternal 
life. From thence began what God had prepared, from 
thenceforth things were disturbed, forasmuch as he de- 
signed to abolish death." * 

Thus far from Archbishop Wake's English translation* 
Among the passages which Lardner extracts are, from his 
Epistle to the Philadelphians, the following : — 

" Behold, I have heard of some who say. Unless I find 
it in the ancients, I will not believe in the Gospel ; and 
I said unto them. It is written : they answered me. It is 
not mentioned. But to me, instead of all ancients, is 
Jesus Christ ; and the uninterpolated antiquities are hia 
cross, and his death and resurrection, and Uie faith which 
is by him."+ 

Archbishop Wake's Collection, in English, and Mr* 
Hone's Apocryphal New Testament, supply the reader 
with so many of the epistles of Ignatius as it suited the 
purpose of Dr. Lardner to recognise. We have, however, 
a billet-doux of this holy father written to the Virgin Mary^ 
and her answer to it, of equal authenticity to any odier 


* H irapdtvia fuipias jccu o rwcenis otirv^f , ofioms koi o boMwros rov m/ptov rpm 
ftrntrrripia tcpauytiSy aeriva w ntrvx'? ^cov etrpax^fi mff aw ^^avtpudri rots auMw} 
Kmip tv ovpcivw, €\afM^€y i/ircp irarras rovs arrtpcUf Kat ro ipcos avrov arfUcXoA^rar 
if0y icm ^tpurfwy ^aptix^y vi tcaufcnis aurov ra 8c Amira murra aurrpa ofia iiAim cm 
4rcXi)H} xopoy rytifero r« (urrcpc-'K. t. A. 

i* Eicowra ripoiy Xtyovrw ori cok firi cy rots apx^uois «vyw, cr rd» wtryytikm mt 
fnarwct koi Xeyorros fiov cniroif , art yrypmrrai, 9wwpArtaQ9 funvnoo wpomlfr m 
i^ici 8c apx*^"^ ccmy Ii^^ovs Xpcorof ra a&iftra o^cmi-o crnupos mirmf^^-it, r. A* 
nttfTcuM bean a ftitare sense. 


writings of the first century, and even in smnc respects .iif 
snperior evidence. 

The learned and ingennoos Peter Stalloixius, who had 
ftyr some time, throng the craft and subtlety of ftttan/ 
been tempted, to doubt the genuineness of this correspon- 
dence, subsequently avows his repentance of that dan-^ 
gerous scepticism, and declares that the arguments of that 
serious writer, Flavins Dexter, had so convinced his 
mind, that he dared no longer hold their claims as qiiea*. 
tionable.* - They are as follows : — 

Tke EpUile of the blessed IgruUius^ to the holy Virgin Mary, 

Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, f 

** To the Christ-bearing Maria, her own Ignattus 

sendeth his compliments. 

** You ought to comfort and console me, who am a new 
convert and a disciple of your friend John ; for I have 
learned things wonderful to be told concerning your Jesus, 
and am astonished at the hearing ; but I desire from my 
very soul to be certified immediately by yourself, who 
wast always familiar and conjoined with him, and privy 
to his secrets, concerning the tilings I have heard. I have 
written to you other episUes also, and have asked con- 
cerning the same things. — Farewell; and let the new 
converts who are with me be comforted by thee, and from 
thee, and in thee. Amen." 

The blessed Virgin's Answer. 

''To Ignatius, the beloved fellow disciple, the humble 

handmaid of Christ Jesus sendeth her complimenis.% 

** The things which you have heard and learned from 

John concerning Jesus are true ; believe them, cleave to 

* This dmne wm one of the thousandi who retton that there can be no 
danger in beliering too much, belief being at any rate the safe ude ; for if the 
noon after all should prove to be made of a green cheese, what will become 
of philosophers \ 

•f Christifere Marie, suus Ignatius 1 Me neophytam Johanniaqne tni diid- 
palam, confortare et consolari debueras. De Jesa enim tuo percepi mira dicta, 
et stupefactus sum ex auditu. A te autem qun semper ei fnisti famlliaris et 
•eoniuncta, et secretonim ejus conscia, desidero ex anioM fieri certior de aadltis. 
Scripsi tibi etiam alias, et rogavi de eisdem. Valeas : et aeophyti qui meoMi 
«ant ex te et per te, et in te confortentur. Amen. 

1 Ignatio delecto condiscipulo humilis ancilla Christi Jesu. De Jesn qiua a 
Jobanne audisti et didicisti, vera sunt. Ilia credas *. illis inhnreaa et Chriatiani* 
tetis lusceptn Totum firmiter teneas, et mores et vitam roto conformes. Veniam 
jmtMD cum Johanne, te et qui tecum sunt Tisere. Sta in fide, et viriliter ue, 
Wfc te GommoToat persecutionis austeritas sed valeat et cxsultet spiritof tuua m 
Dee Salutari tuo. Amen. — Fabrieii, Cod, Apoc, torn 2) p. 841. 

THE APotrroLic PATUHta. aOi 

them — hold last the yow you have made to the Christimiity 
which you have embraced, and conform your life and 
manners to that vow ; and I and John will come together 
to yisit yon. Stand firm in the faith ; act manfully, nor 
let the sharp severity of persecution move you. But mny 
3rour soul fare well, and rejoice in. God your Saviour. 

To be sure these precious epistles were not forthcoming 
before the faith of the church was ripe to receive them; 
being first published at Paris in the year 1495, but tbi^y 
are none the less genuine on that account; nor is there a 
single argument that can be urged against them but what, 
in parity of application, would be fatal to the credibility of 
either of our four Grospels. Nothing hinders but that these 
jewels might have lain hid under the miraculous keeping 
of divine providence, till the proper time was arrived for 
their being brought to light and set to shine in the bright 
diadem of Christian evidences. And as for all arguments 
drawn from chronology, geography, and other profane 
sciences. Christians have ever found their best policy to 
consist in regarding those who adduce them as objects of 
contempt, in committing their writings unread to the 
flames, and themselves unheard to gaols and dungeons. 
It may, however, be a profitable exercise for the ingenuity 
of believers to try if they can imagine or invent a single 
sentiment of hostility, expression of scorn, or action of 
cruelty, that could be justly merited by the rejecters of the 
writings contained in the New Testament, that would not, 
but a few years back, have seemed with equal justice to 
be merited by the impugners of the epistles of Ignatius. 


Here ends the utmost extent of testimony to the facts 
of the Christian history to be derived from the apostolic 
Fathers, — that is, from all who can be pretended to have 
written or lived at any time within a hundred years of the 
birth of Christ. It is not possible to produce so much as 
one single sentence or manner of expression from any 
one, friend or enemy, historian or divine, maintainer or 
impugner of the Christian doctrines, within the first cen- 
tury ; the like of which we can conceive to have been used 
by any person who had been witness of the facts on whiph 
ike doctrines are founded, or contemporary of those who 
had been witnesses, or who had believed that those f^Ms 


had really happened, or had so much as heard that there 
were any persons on earth that had seriously asserted that 
they had happened. The language of these Fathers, fdio 
are accounted orthodox, to say nothing of what we may 
hereafter gather from heretical information, is every where 
the language of a religious fatuity, childish beyond .aU 
names of childishness — foolish as folly itself. We should 
just as well find evidence and authentication to Magna 
C^iarta in the scribblings of an idiot on a wall, or make 
out the particulars of the Punic wars from the records of a 
baby-house, as discover a trace of testimony to fact in any 
documents of tlie Fathers of the first century. It remains 
only for those who, after an elapse of eighteen centuries, 
have moulded or new-fangled to themselves a system 
which they would now have us consider as ''worthy of 
all acceptation/' to show how that which had so little evi* 
dence at first, could come to have more afterwards; or 
how what was never known nor spoken of but as a matter 
of imagination, conceit, and faith, in the first century^ 
should come to have a right to be put on the score of his*- 
torical evidence at any later period. 

The orthodox Fatliers (as far as doctrine is concerned 
with orthodoxy) seem only to be distinguished from the 
heretics, in that they occasionally use a strength of lan- 
guage in their descriptions of allegorical figments, which 
might seem to approximate to the style of history, and 
might make what they only intended as emblems, pass 
for actual circumstances. Yet against such an accepta- 
tion of such occasional over-drivings of the allegory, we 
have to consider that we are in possession, not only of the 
arg^ument arising from the natural improbability of such 
allegorical exaggerations when mistaken for facts, and the 
total absence of all corroborative and coincident testimony 
which could by no possibility be conceived to have been 
wanting if such facts had ever happened ; but we have the 
concurrent, and it maybe called unanimous consent of the 
whole body of Christian dissenters (that is, in the church 
term, the heretics), who from the very first, and all along, 
never ceased to maintain and teach, that no such a person 
as Jesus Christ ever existed, and that all the evangelical 
statements of his miracles, actions, sufierings, birth, death, 
and resurrection, were to be understood in a high and 
mystical sense, and not, according to the letter as facts 
that had ever happened ; and this, too, confirmed by ad- 
fliissions of those who are called orthodox themselves, in 



many positive passages ; unabated by so much as a single 
sentence that can be produced from any one writer within 
the first hundred years, which is such as he would have 
written^ or would have suited his character to write, had 
be believed that the Gospel had been founded upon his^ 
torical fact. And absolutely the only difference between 
Paganism and Christianity — Christians themselves being 
judges — ^was the difference between the allegorical fictions 
in which the one or the other couched the same physical 
theorems ; as is demonstrated, without need of further 
comment, by the juxta-position of their respective texts : 

Julius Firmicius, 

in descriptioD of the 

Pagan Mysteries, 

quotes Pagan Priests. 

* But in those funerals and 


in description of the 

Christian Mysteries, 

quotes Christian Fathers, 

t In one word, the suffering 

lamentations which are annu- Jesus is nothing- else than what 
ally celebrated in honour of the Manicheeans called the mem- 
Osiris, their defenders wish to hers of God ; that is to say, the 

pretend a physical reason ; they 
call the seeds of fruit, Osiris, the 
earth, Isis, the natural heat, 
Typhon ; and because the fruits 
are ripened by the natural heat, 
are collected for the life of man, 
and are separated from their 
matrimony to the earth, and 
are sown again when winter 
approaches, this they would 
have to be the death of Osiris -, 
but when the fruits, by the ge- 
nial fostering of the earth, begin 
again to be generated by a new 
procreation, this is the finding 
of Osiris. 

* Sed in his funeribiu et luctibus, 
defenjiores eortim volunt addere phy- 
nciam rationem. Frug^m semina 
Osirim dicentes esse, him terram, Ty- 
pbonein calorem. Et quia matnratffi 
fmges calore, ad vitam hominis colli- 
gontor, tt a teme consortio separao- 
tur, et mrsQS appropiDquante byeme 
anniiiaiitar : banc Tolnnt ease mortem 
OiiridiSy ctun frugesredduntor: inven- 
tioaem rero, cum f ruges genitali tenne 
fomento concepts, nova rursus, ciepe- 
rintprocreatione generaii. — J>e Farwt 
ProfmnmwnReligiomtm^ p. 6. 

celestial substance, or the souls 
which have descended from 

The earth is the Virgin ; the 
heavenly substance which is id 
the earth, is the substance of the 
Virgin, of which Jesus Chn\st 
was formed ; the Holy Ghost 
is the natural heat, by whose 
virtue the earth conceived him'; 
and he becomes an infant id 
being made to pass through the 
plants, and from thence agaio 
into heaven. 

t En un mot, le Jesu PassihU, n'edt 
antre cbose que les Manirb^ns appel- 
loient les membres de Dieu, c'est adire 
la substance celeste, ou les ames qui 
sont descendues du ciel. — Beautobre 
Histoire des Dogmet deManichee, ltT.S, 
c. 4, torn. 2, p. 56i. 

La terre est la Vierge, la substance 
celeste, qui est dans la terre, est la 
substance Viiiginale qui compose Jetut % 
S. Esprit est l*agent par la virtue du 
quel la terre le con(^it, est Tenftnte 
en le faisant passer dans les plaotes, rt 
dela dans le ciel. 


With more than the significancy that will strike one at 
the first sight, has the learned Montfaucon observed, that 
" when once a man begins to use his own judgment- fai 
matters of religion, it is no wonder that he should fre- 
quently be in error, since all things are uncertain, when 
once we depart from what the church has decreed :"* — that 
is, in other words, there is no other real argument for tho 
truth of the Christian religion, than '' He that beti^)eih nof 
shall be damned!" — Mark xvi. 16. 




PAPIAS, A.D. 116. 

Bishop of Hierapolis. 

The first of all the Fathers of the second century, and 
next immediately following on those of the first to whom 
exclusively is applied the distinction apo5/o/ica/, is PapiaSi 
placed by Cave at the year 110; according to others, he 
flourished about the year 115 or 116. !* He is said by some to 
have been a martyr. Irenseus speaks of him as a hearer of 
St. John, and a companion of Polycarp. *|-Papias, how- 
ever, in his preface to his five books, entitled An ExpKca" 
Hon of the Oracles of the Lord, does not himself assert that 
he heard or saw any of the holy apostles, but only that he 
had received the things concerning the faith from those 
who were well acquainted with them. *' Now we are to 
observe," says Eusebius, " how Papias, who lived at the 
same time, mentions a wonderful relation he had received 
from Philip's daughters. For he relates, that in his time 
a dead man was raised to life. He also relates another 
miracle of Justus, sumamed Barsabas, that he drank 
deadly poison, and, by the grace of the Lord, suffered no 
harm.*' This deadly poison was certainly not arsenic. 

Dr. Lardner concludes his very brief account of this 
Father, with a remark which, from any pen but his, would 

* Cum quis eb derenit at fidei dogniata ex sui jadicii mrbitrio definiat, i^hU 
nifum est si freqnenter aberret : omnia quippe suntincerta, cum semd ab ecfele- 
•Ub itatatis discemun egt^^^JHont/etucon in prolegom. ad JSmteb. Cammemt im 

t I claim to be excused from ginng the Greek text in all casei in wliidi tlw 
trmtlaUoii is not my own. Thiais Or. Lardner's. 


bear the character of drollery. Immediately after telling: 
UH that '^ Papias was a man of small capacity/' he adds, 
^' But I esteem the testimony he has given to the Gospels 
of St. Matthew and St. Mark, and to the First Epistle of 
St Peter and St John, very valuable ; but if Papias had 
been a wiser man^ he had left us a confirmation of many 
more books of the New Testament*'* 

It was convenient, however, for Dr. Lardner, and indeed 
essential to the policy of his whole work, entirely to sup- 
press the important evidence by which his readers might 
be furnished with the means of estimating the value of this 
testimony for themselves. It is perhaps a very different 
impression of the character of this primitive bishop, and of 
the value of his testimony, which the reader would be led 
to form, upon consideration of the evidence arising from 
his writings themselves as preserved to us on the authority 
of his admirer and disciple Irenseus, in which he gravely 
assures us, that he had immediately learned from the 
evangelist St John himself, that '' the Lord taught and 
said, that the days shall come in which vines shall spring 
up, each having ten thousand branches, and in each branch 
shall be ten thousand arms, and on each arm of a branch 
ten thousand tendrils, and on each tendril ten thousand 
bunches, and on each bunch ten thousand grapes, and each 
grape, on being pressed, shall yield five and twenty gal- 
lons of wine ; and when any one of the saints shall take 
hold of one of these bunches, another shall cry out, ' I am 
a better bunch, take me, and bless the Lord 6yme.'"t 
The same infinitely silly metaphors of multiplication by 
ten thousand, are continued with respect to grains of wheat, 
apples, fruits, flowers, and animals beyond all endurance, 
precisely after the fashion of that famous sorites of the nur- 
sery upon the House that Jack built, the malt, the rat, the 
cat, the dog, the cow, &c. : all which Jesus concluded by 
saying) *' And these things are believeable by all be-» 
lievers; but Judas the traitor not believing, asked him,, 
But how shall things that shall propagate thus be brought 
to an end by the Lord ? And the Lord answered him and 

* Lardner, under the head Papias. 

f Docebat Dominus et dicebat venient dies in quibus nascentur ^-inee, singula 
dena millia palmitnin habentes, et in uno palmite denia nuDia brachiorum, et in 
•no bracbio palmitis dena millia fiagellorum, et in uno qnoquoflagello. dena millta 
botruum, etin unoquoque botro, dena millia acinorum, et unumquodque acinum 
expresaum dabit yigrinti quinque roetretas rini. Et cum coram apprehenderit 
aliquis sanctoram botrum, alius clamabit. Botnis ego melior suni, me spme^ 
per me Dominnm benedic.— *i7icrr Irenrei iextus trmnalatio Atberti Fabrieii rt|. 


said. Those who shall live in those times shall see."* But 
even this Christian conceit wants the merit of origin- 
ality. It is a poor plagiarism from the form of adnlatmn 
in which the sovereigns of India were wont to be 
dressed, which was as follows : 

'' May the king live for a thousand years, and the qi 
for a thousand years lie in his bed ; and may each of tkoM 
years consist of a thousand months, and eadi of thoM 
months of a thousand days, and each of those days of a 
thousand hours, and each of those hours be a thousaad 


PapiaS) however, notwithstanding his intimacy with the 

Evangelist St. John, and the value of his testimony to the 

Grospels of Matthew and Mark, fell into the sl^ki error of 

believing that no such an event as the crucifixion ever hap» 

pened, but that Jesus Christ lived to be a very old man, 

and died in peace in the bosom of his own family. Papias^ 

with all bis absurdities, had some respect for poetieal' 

justice, would have wound us up the scene decently^ and 

give us gospel quite as true, though not so bloody. 

QUADRATUS, A. D. 110. 

Bishop of Atheru. 

The testimony on which the advocates of Christianity 
lay the greatest stress, is that of Quadratus. For earii* 
ness of time and apparent distinctiveness of attestation, 
they have no other, equal, or second to it. 

He is the only writer, up to the period of the time 
existence, who has spoken of the miracles of our 
in a sort of language which might make it seem that he 
believed them himself, and took them to be historical 
events. He was endued, says the Chronography:{: with 
the gift of prophecy, and wrote an Apology to the empe* 
ror Adrian. He is not, however, placed by Lardnor in 
his proper place as an Apostolic Father, or as next to an 
Apostolic Father, for reasons, which it is impossible for 
the earnest inquirer after trutii not to suspect. He is of 
the same age with Ignatius, and has left us, says Paley, 
the following noble testimony.§ 

* £t adjecit (icii. Jesus) dicens, Hac mutem credibilU sant credentibiif. Si 
Joda, inquit proditore, noa credente, et inteiroganle : Qaomodo ergo tikt 
ffenitora m Domino perficientur ? Dizisse Dominnm : Videlnnit qui fenlMt !■ 

t Vir. clsr. Thomas Hyde de Schachiludio et Nerdilndio.— Ci/on/e FmMeh 

X Which I hiTe fraqaently quoted. It is that hj Melmoth Hanmer, to Ui 
•dmon of Eufebins, ETagrius, and Socrates, a. d. 1649. 

f Pdey'sEfidences of Christianity, toI. 1. p. J 22. 


The ttttimony of QaadratuB. 

^* The woriu» of our Savioar were always conspiGUoas^ 
for tbey were real ; both those that were healed, and those 
whor were raised firom the dead, who were seen, not onl]r 
when they were healed or raised, bat for a long time after* 
wards ; not only whilst he dwelled upon this earth, but 
also after his departure ; and for a good while after it, 
itts s m uch that some of them have reached our times/** 

Paley adds not another word on this important testi* 
jaomy^ It is only by referring to the authority which he 
afiects to quote (which is evidently so much more pains 
than he ever took himself) that we learn that this famous 
Chuidtaius was, even to Eusebius himself, a mere hearmy 
evidenoe,— *'' Among those who were then famous,'' he 
tcdls us, ^* was Qimdratw^ whom they sayj'\ together with 
the daughters of Philip, was endued with the gift of pro- 
phecying ; and many others also at the same time flou- 
risked, who obtaining the first step of apostolical success 
sioB^ and preaching and sowing the celestial seed of the 
kingdom of heaTen throug^ut the world, filled the bams 
of God with increase/':!: — *' His book," says Eusebius, " is 
as yet extant among the Christian brethren, and a copy 
thereof remaineth with us, wherein appear perspicuous 
motes of the understanding and true apostolic doctrine of 
tUs man. That he was one of the ancients,§ maybe 
ysfdiered from his own words/' Then follows the famous 
passage which we have given. 

Qaadratus, according to such an account of the matter 
as- we may gather from the Ecclesiastical History (ot 
rather ecclesiastical romance, for such it is) of Eusebius^ 
mas fourth bishop of Athens, reckoning St Paul the first, 
iMoDysius the Areopagite the second, and PubUus, his 
immediate predecessor, who as well as himself is said to 
have suffered martyrdom, the third. 

KrMn a letter of Dionysius bishop of Corinth to the 
AAenians, it is indicated that the Athenians had not only 
einbraced the faith previous to the martyrdom of the pre- 
desessor of Quadratus, but that ** they were now in a 

* The whole paattge from begfosiiif to ead It— K«8jpiiror, ic. r, x. ivropn 
ravra Acus ^na^ms — ** re Be 0wnipo t ii/tuif ra wpy mu VQfrWf oAi^ yop i^, Oi 
^yg g iudirrty, oi wfaareufr§s cic ycjcpwr, ot ovk w^Arf7aif fiwoy SitpoMwofUftfoi mu 
flTMTc^icrot, o^Xa teat mc nporrci. OvSf frtSq^ierroi fuvw ra trvntpoSf oAAa km 
•voAXtfjrtrroiy ly^ay cvi "Xfnifm utOMur wn% imu ctt Tovt ti^icrc/NWf xf"*^^*^ rty^t 
mmm •^MPOPfv.**— ToMwrot /<cy ovroi, «. r. A. 

+ AoTOf fx« — " at the story /foef/* ** the tale has it** — Euseb. Eccles. Hist., 
lib.iB. c. SI. £. linea 3, Ed. 1612. X ^^^> l>b. iii. c. 3. Hnea 1 1. 



manner fallen from it^ and were by the zealous labours of 
Quadratus reclaimed."* 

But what if it should turn out that this Quadratiu was 
no Christian at all ! That he was a Pagran priest, wbo 
officiated in the temple of Gad the Saviour JEiculapims, then 
established at Athens, and that this pretended testimoiiy 
to the Jew-Jesus, is nothing more than a broken pant- 
graph out of some account that a heathen bishop had given 
of the miracles that were wrought by the son of Coionis. 
Let the reader return to our article jEsculapius, and pro- 
pose to his own conyiction, and solve as he may the 
important queries thence emergent : 

1st. If such an apology as this purports to be, had been 
written to the emperor Adrian, and Eusebius had pos- 
sessed or seen a copy of it, why he should not have givon 
us the whole of it, or at least enough to have given it 
distinctiveness of application and sense, so as to pot 
beyond all doubt those three grand primaries of evefy 
written document — who it was that wrote— to whom it 
was that it was written, — and what was the subject of the 

Of these inquiries, the broken sentence which Eoaelnus 
has given us, aflfords no solution. It might have been 
written by any body else as well as Quadratus — to any 
body else as well as to Adrian ; and of and concerning 
JBscuIapius, as well, yea better and more probably, than 
concerning any other figment whatever. 

No mind that hath the faculty of critical comparison, 
can shut from their influence on its conclusion these 
eighteen predications of the case : 

1. That Eusebius was a Christian-evidence manufiic- 
turer, and was labouring and digging in any way, or on 
any ground, to find or to make a testimony to primitive 

2. That he lived and wrote in the age of pious frmuds, 
when it was considered as the most meritorious exploit to 
turn the arms and defences of Paganism against itself, 
to pervert documents from their known sense, and to sup- 
port the cause of Christianity, not only by forging writings, 
but by supposing persons who never existed. 

3. That Eusebius himself indirectly confesses that he 
has acted on this principle, '' that he has related whatever 
might redound to the glory, and that he has suppressed 

* Ensb. Eccl. Hist., lib. ir. c. 22. 


all that could tend to the dis^ce of religion/'* And 
that *^ if we subtract falsifications, interpolations and 
evident improbabilities, bis account of tike Christians 
-during the hrst century, amounts to little more than we 
read in that undateable compilation, the New Testa- 

4. That we have no indication whatever, either in the 
'Hew Testament, or in any credible history, that Chris- 
tianity had been so successfully preached at Athens, as 
io gain an establishment ; or that that city had become 
the see of a Christian bishop, at any time within the three 
first centuries. 

5. That where Paul himself, with all his gift of tongues 
•and power of working miracles, was only regarded as 
a babbler, and derided as a poor insane vagabond, it 
outrages the faculty of conceit itself, to conceive, that he 
4)ould have appointed and left the regular succession of 
an ecclesiastical hierarchy. 

6. That we have the most unquestionable and unques- 
tioned evidence, that JBsculapius was worshipped all 
along in Athens, under the express title and designation 
of Our Saviour. 

7. That the miracles subsequently ascribed to Jesus 
Christ, had been previously ascribed to, and believed to 
juive been wrought by jEsculapius, 

8. That these miracles, as ascribed to JBsculapius, 
answer in every particular to those referred to in this 
passage of Quadratus. 

9. That, as ascribed to JBsculapius, these miracles of 
healing, and raising men from the dead (I pray observe, 
not raising the dead, but raising them from sicknesses of 
which they otherwise would have died, and so preventing 
their being numbered with the dead) were characteristic of 
tills deity, and come within measure of probability — ^not 
of their having happened, — ^but of their having been be- 
lieved to have happened. 

- 10. That that character of openness, publicity and noto- 
riety, which Quadratus here challenges as peculiariy cha- 
racteristic of the works of Our Saviour Msculapius, was as 
peculiarly wanting and deficient, nay, and even renounced 

^ Mjr Greek text of Eusebins, which U 216 yean old, is deficient here, aod 
obliges me to rely oo the quotation as given by Gibbon, Decline and Fall, vol. 
li. c. 16, p. 490. Hear also that man i3fter God's own heart, St. Chrysostom : 
** Great is the force of deceit 1 prorided it be not excited by a treacherous inten- 
tion.** — Com. an 1 CoWfKA,ix. 19. 

t My learstd friead'a unpublished Ed. of Plutarch, in Appendict Primo, 11* 


and given up, as the very reverse of the chamcter of the 
miracles ascribed to Our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

11. That tablets were hung up in the temple of 
lapins, and all its walls and pillars covered over and 
blaioned with trophies of his victories over disease and 

12. That persons who had been healed and raised ^om 
tile dead (that is, recovered from diseases of which tiiey 
had like to have died), were every day in attendance in 
his temple, certifying the reality of the miracles ^Akdi 
^ey sincerely believed had been wrought apon thens, and 
pouring forth in fervours of ecstatic devotion their gfmte- 
fol acknowledgments to the god who had heard their 
prayers and magnified his power in their nuracnloiu 
recoveries : — ^but , 

18. That the works of Jesus Ot^Uit^ were expresaly mid 
to have been done in secret, and concealed as miiioh at 
possible from human observance. His own le a i ir r e c t ian 
is admitted by writers on the Christian evidence, to ha? e 
been only a private miracle.^ A character of legerdemaia 
and collusion attaches to his most wonderful performancei, 
even on the showing of the New. Testament itsdUl When 
he was transfigured^' he takes with him only his three 
fiivourites. — When he turns water into wine, he chooses 
the time when the witnesses were so drunk as not to 
know the difference. — When he raises Jairus's daughter, 
he puts a\vay aU her friends from witnessing the reani- 
mating process. — When he cures the blind man, he takes 
him aside from public observance. — When he cleanses the 
leper, he ** straitly charged him, See thou say nothing to wag 
man, but show thyself to the priest ;*'% and expressly avows 
his aim and intention to have been to bilk and d^iive the 
people. § 

14. These were the woiks, and the characteristicB of 
the works of the Christian Saviour, in diametrical oppo- 
sition to which, the bishop of JSsculapius- would with 
singular propriety, say, " But the woriLs of our Saviour 
were always conspicuous, for they were real/' Sec as it 
follows : and as it might have followed, or gone before — 
The works of their Saviour were secret and dandestinei 
because they were not real, nor have Christians so much as 
one public trophy to show, or one individual in tiie whole 
world whom they can bring forward to attest any sort of 

* See Ignatius*! Testimony — Belshmm's ErUances. 

t Metamorpho$ed is the resi original word. 

X Maik, I. 44. ( Mufc, ir. 18. 


benefit or advantage received from their Saviour to the 
mind^ body or estate of any man, except in the way of 
sup^ying a new pretext for levying contributions on the 
fidiy, weakness, and ignorance of mankind. And 

16. That whereas not more than a twentieth part of the 
Roman empire had embraced the Christian religion, pre- 
▼iouB to die conversion of that (as £usebius <^s Mm) 
imo$t holy emperor Constantine: the worship of the god 
JEsculapius continued in the heart of the empire under 
an unbroken succession of Pagan bishops, with scarcely 
diminished splendour for several hundred years after tiie 
pretended diffusion of the New Light. 

16. That notwithstanding Constantine's destruction of 
the Phenician temples, that at Athens still remained. 

17. We have better eyidence than any that hath yet 
1>een pretended for Christianity, of the belief of a mira* 
Gulous cure wrought oy this deity, as late as the year 
A. D. 485, which is thirty-five years on this side the middle 
of the fifth century. 

18. Nor, whatever Protestants may choose to think and 
Bay of the palpable Paganism of Popery, ought they to 
be suffered to blink the historical fact that the religion of 
Constantine was of the very grossest type and form of all 
that was ever popish.* So that they who choose to deny 
that Christianity and Popery are one and the same reli- 

S*on, must make their best bargain of the consequence 
at follows on their denial — even that Christianity kept 
floundering about, and found no settlement in the world 
for whose benefit it was intended, tUl it was taken up 
and established by our English Constantine, Henry the 

The Christian Apologists, or those who are sai^ 
to have addressed apologies to die Roman Emperors, or 
Senate, in vindication of Christianity and of Christians, 
w^e in order of time — 

1. Quadratus, Bishop of Athens a. d. 119 

2. Aristides, an Athenian Philosopher . 121 

3. Justin Martyr 140 

* See Vis detire to hare MaM and pimycn for Me aovl after dentliy cap. 71* 
And ** how he commanded that hb picture ahould not be set in idolatrous tem- 
pirn," that honour being reserred for Chriatiaa churchee — 16. " How he com- 
flModed that the heathenish oailitary legions should pray on the Lord's 
day."— 19. And hie piety and fwth in the Sign of the CnM»— 2. Andhowthe 
Scythians were subjected and oreroome by the sign of the Crom.^Ck. &. B. 4. 


4. MeUto A. D. 141 

5. Athenagoras 178 

6. Tertullian 200 

7. Minucius Felix . .210 

8. Arnobius 806 

The difierence of time between these Christian advo- 
cates, precludes us from taking any view of their writings 
distinctively from their occurrence in the regular succes- 
sion of Christian Fathers. Of the two first no remains are 

ARISTIDES9 A. D. 121. 

An Athenian Philosopher and Christian Apologist, of 
whom Eusebius informs us, that '' he was a faithful man, 
zealous for our religion, and like Quadratus, wrote an 
Apology for it to Adrian, which,"' he adds, '* is still pre- 
served among many."* We have, however, not a word 
of this ; nor should we, perhaps, have found such a name 
as that of Aristides among the faithful, if the heathens had 
not had their Aristides the Just, whose name was wanted 
for the martyrology. 


Is placed by Dr. Lardner forty-three years later, lived 
under Adrian, and wrote on the siege of Jerusalem, com- 
prising the ecclesiastical history from the Apostles down to 
his own time. Though £usebius represents him as hav- 
ing lived in the time of the Apostles themselves, or as 
immediately succeeding them, and having written five 
books of Memoirs of the Apostles, from the fifth of which 
he gives us a long extract concerning the martjrrdom of 
the apostle James, the immediate brother of Christ, whom 
Hegesippus thus describesf — ^' This man was holy firom 
his mother's womb; he drank neither wine nor strong 
drink ; neither ate any creature wherein there was life. 
He was neither shaven nor anointed, nor ever used a 
bath. To him alone was it lawful to enter into the holy 
places. He used no woollen garments, but wore only 
tine linen, and he went alone into the temple. He was 

* Eccl. Hist., lib. iv. c. 3. vol. it. 

"^ (f Hyuaimtot wwi nfs vptnrit rm¥ eafoar9Ku¥ ywoftmmt luiloxifi — ^ ^^ ^nfotrm 
mmm vwofttmnuni loropti rw rpovov— ic. r. X. aliter, • Uiffifflrof . — EceL But,^ lib. iL 
p. 66, c« 22.— B. 



found on his knees, supplicating for the remission of the 
sins of the people; so that his knees were overgrown 
with a callosity like those of a camel ; from his continual 
kneeling in prayer to Grod, and suppUcation for the peo«- 
ple; and from the excess of his righteousness he was 
surnamed The Just, and Oblias, which signifies in Greek 
the bulwark of the people, and righteousness."^ 

I held this passage worthy of preservation, as furnishing 
an additional proof that the first of that order of eccentric 
and fanatical creatures whose successors afterwards came 
to be called Christians, were really Egyptian monks, as 
Eusebius has in positive terms acknowledged them to be, 
the regular descendants and disciples of the philosophy of 

None of the genuine works of this Hegesippus are 
extant ; his name, however, and the number and the sub* 
jects of the volumes ascribed to him being given, there 
were data enow for Christian piety to fall to work upon : 

" There is a counterfeit volume of five books under his 
name, the translator whereof they say St. Ambrose was ; 
nay, it is likelier that St. Ambrose himself was the 

So says the Ecclesiastical Chronography, affixed to the 
oldest editions of Eusebius. With Dr. Lardner, however, 
St. Ambrose is an honourable man, — '' so are they all — 
all honourable men !'' 

I can neither embrace nor entirely reject the inference 
that presents itself, from the fact of the title of Hegesip- 
pus's five hooks— the Memoirs of the Apostles — ^being pre^ 
cisely the same as that under which Justin Martyr seems 
to quote the contents of our New Testament 


Is so called from his being believed to have suffered mar* 
tyrdom, — a distinction which entirely harmonizes with the 
admissions of Dionysius, Origen, Tertullian, and Melito, 
that the numbers of martyrs was really very few, and that 
consequently martyrdom was no common occurrence to the 
professors of Christianity. He was bom at Flavia Nea- 
polls, anciently called Sichem, a city of Samaria in Pa- 

* Owov Kcu auc€pa bk ewiw ov8« €fja^vxo¥ *^ory^ ivpo¥ eriniv fcc^a\i}y owe cvc^. 
EAflMT ovie ifkui^aro Ktu fiaKuietM wk fxpiyraro K a ra r. \» 

Qs «rc0)rAipcfwu ra 70Mrra avrov ducify KOfuiKov 6ta ro ac< Koiianwf wwi yov^t— 
Km T. X* Utgctipfiat apod Suittiaia* 

314 ■ I IllWn QP TUK UgCQHD OMUUM l. 

Imtiae; a dicnmiitance which fidly aooomils Cor the 
JewiBh torn and character which any eyatem of philaaa 
phy tliat had percolated his lNrain» woold nec easan iy 
imbibe. Dr. Lardner describes him as being eariv a lover 
of troth, and informs os that he studied philosoimy oador 
sevi»al masters, first onder a Stoic, next onder a Pcnp»* 
tetic, then onder a Pythagorean, and lasdy, onder a Hor 
tonic philosopher, whose principles and sentfanents ke^ 
preferred above aU others, ontil he became aofoainted* 
with the Christian Religion, which he then emteaoed a« 
the only safe and profitable piiioso^y.* 

Fabricios sopposes that be was bom A* D. 80, and 
aoffered martynlom in the 74th year of his age, which 
would be A. D. 163. 

The testimony of Justin Martyr to the contents of the 
New Testament, for the sake of wldch he is addoced by 
Lardner, is rendered nugatory by the facts : 1st, of the 
existence of apocryphal gospds, which contained Tery 
much of the same contents, and in the same langoage, as 
those that have been since received into the canon of tfie 
New Testament : 2. That Matthew's and Loke*s Gospels 
were mere compilations from previously existing doco- 
mentSyirom which Justin might have made his extracts as 
well, or rather than from the compilations of our Evan* 
gelists : 3. That be has never mentioned the names of our 
Evangelists, but speaks of his authorities generally as 
CbmmefUaries, or Memoirs of the Apostles : 4. And that he 
has also quoted passages from those Gospels which the 
C^rch has rejected, with indications of his ent«rtaimng 
as high respect for them as for those it has received. 

The principal works of Justin Martyr are his two Apo- 
logies, and his Dialogue with Trypho, the Jew, in two 
parts ; the latter of which is generally quoted by such 
writers as Forteus, Doddridge, and Addison, in those 
contemptible and truly wicked treatises on the Evidenoep 
of the Christian Religion, which are written fur the pur- 
pose of being imposed on workhouse children, parish ap- 
prentices, and candidates for confirmation, to make them 
believe in the miraculous propagation of the GospeL 

This is the popular quotation from it : — '' There exists 
not a people, whether Grreeks or barbarians, or any odMr 
race of men, by whatever appellation or manners Uiey 

* Torrnr fwnp^ tvpunuv ^tka ^ of u m mr^akti rt tern, ^ i^y w^ ifmmdikkmiame 
ikt si^ and pr9^kM€ pMkt^ky, an hm words* Smthr that wqfd mkUmsmky 
to M h^dlelf Mpkiooi term for Chrittianity ! 


may be distingoishad, however ignorant of arts or agricnl- 
tare,«>-whether they dwdl under, tents, or wander about in 
oovered waggons, — among whom prayers are not offered 
np, in the name of a cmcified Jesus, to the Father and 
Qreator of all things/' One's wondw that so early jt 
Christian should have committed himself in so monstrous 
aa absurdity, utterly destructiTe as it is of all the stories 
of martyrdom which give such pathetic effect to the tale 
4if Christian Evidences, is only subdued by the truly para^ 
iyadng impudence of those who would, in our own day, 
still attempt to impose it on Christian congregations. 

The character and genius of Justin's Apologies for 
Christianity will be best appreciated from so much of the 
text itself as I subjoin. 

Justin Atartyr^s Apology, addressed in the Year 141. 


*' Unto the Autocrat Titus .^ius Adrianus ; unto An- 
toninus Pius, most noble Caesar and true Philosopher; 
unto Lucius, son of the philosopher Caesar, and adopted 
of Pius, favourers of learning : and unto the sacred Se- 
nate, with all the people of ^me ; on the behalf of those 
persons who, among all sorts of men, are unjustly hated 
sold reproached : I, Justin, the son of Priscus Bacchius 
of Flavia Neapolis, of Palestine in Syria, as one of their 
number, do, suppliant with earnest prayers, present this 
my petition"— (owiM^is omittendis.) — '* You hold not the 
scales of Justice even ; for, instigated bv headstrong pas* 
sions, and driven on also by the invisible whips m evil 
demons, you take great care that we shall snfier though 
you care not for what. * 

'' For verily I must tell yon that heretofore those impure 
spirits under various iqpparitions went into the daughters 
of men, and defiled boys, and dressed up such scenes of 
horror, that such as entered not into the reason of things, 
but judged by sqppearance only, stood aghast at the spec- 
tres ; and bemg shrunk up with fear and amazement, and 
never imagining them to be devils, called them gods, and 
invoked them by such titles as each devil was pleased to 

nickname himself by.f (0 


* Is thi* language that conld liave been addreased to those modela of jvillot 
and ]nst ffOTernment, Adrian and Antoninos ? Would the Hke of it have been 
eadnrad oj any Christian Sov^rdgn ? Has it so much as sn appearance of 

t Reeves's ApologiiBS, p. 10. 

316 rAtnms or the second centoy. 

** If then we hold some opinions near of kin to the poets 
and philosophers in greatest repute among yon, why are 
we thus unjustly hated ? For, in saying that all things 
were made in this beautiful order by GoA, what do wa 
seem to say more than Plato? When we teach k geneial 
conflagration, wh&t do we teach more than the Stoics? 
By opposing the worship of the works of men's hands, we 
concur with Menander the comedian ; and by declaring 
the Logos the first-begotten of God, oar Master Jesos 
Christ, to be born of a Virgin without any human mixture^ 
and to be crucified and dead, and to have risen again, 
and ascended into heaven, we say no more in this, than 
what you say of those whom you style the Sons of Jove* 

** For you need not be told what a parcel of sons the 
writers most in vogue among you assign to Jove. There's 
Mercury, Jove's interpreter. In imitation of the Locos*, in 
worship among you. There's ^sculapius, the physician, 
smitten by a bolt of thunder, and after that ascending 
into heaven. There's Bacchus torn to pieces, and Her- 
cules burnt to get rid of his pains. There's Pollux and 
Castor, the sons of Jove by Leda, and Perseus by Danae* 
Not to mention others, I would fain know why you 
always deify the departed Emperors, and have a fellow at 
hand to make affidavit that he saw Caesar mount to heaven 
from the funeral pile.f As to the Son of Grod, called 
Jesus, should we allow him to be nothing more than man, 
yet the title of the Son of God is very justifiable upon the 
account of his wisdom, considering you have your Mer* 
cury in worship under the title of the Word and Messen- 
ger of God. 

^' As to the objection of our Jesus*s being crucified, I 
say, that sufiering was common to all the forementioned 
sons of Jove, but only they suffered another kind of 
death. As to his being born of a virgin, you have your 
Perseus to balance that As to his curing the lame, and 
the paralytic, and such as were cripples from their birth, 
this is little more than what you say of your JBscu- 
** But if the Christian profession must still meet vrith 

* This Mercury had, howevery held his title of the Loga» many tgw before 
it was challenged for the Christian Mercury. — See chapter 26. 

t In the case of Romulus^ one Julius Procuius, a man of exemplary vhtnet, 
took a solemn oath that Romulus himself appeared to him> and ordered him to 
inform the Senate of his being called up to the assembly of the gods, under tlw 
name of Quirinus, — Plutarch, and Dionptius Halicar, lib. t^ p. i24, 

X See ^sculapius and Jesus Christ compared, chap* 20. 


such bitter treatment, remember what I told yo ; before, 
that the farthest you can go is to take away our lives,* 
but the loss of this life will certainly be no ill bargain to 
us; but you indeed, and all such wicked enemies without 
repentance, shall one day dearly pay for this persecution 
in fire everlasting.f And as far as these things shall 
appear agreeable to truth, so far we would desire you to 
respect 'em accordingly ; but if they seem trifling, de- 
spise them as trifles : however, don't proceed against the 
professors of them, who are people of the most inoffen- 
sive lives, as severely as against your professed enemies. 
For tell you I must, that if you persist in this course of 
iniquity, you shall not escape die vengeance of God in 
the other world." j: 

The reader has here a fair specimen of the whole com- 
position, and a complete view of the state and character 
of the most primitive Christianity. 

It will be seen from the fickleness of Justin's character, 
and the infinitely suspicious style of his Apology (which it 
is impossible to believe was ever presented at all), that it 
is in the highest degree doubtful whether he was really a 
Oiristian, or any thing more than an Ammonian philoso- 
pher; that is, one of the sect of Ammonias Saccas, who in 
the second century maintained, that all religions were 
equally founded in the delirium of crazy brains, and in 
the cmft of shrewd ones ; and that there was no such 
difference between Paganism and Christianity, but that 
they might very well be incorporated and considered as 
one and the same, equally proper to be solemnly taught, 
and had in respect by the common people, and laughed at 
in secret by the wise.§ \ . 

The story of his martyrdom has no other plausibility 
of history than a brief notice of a lewd quarrel with a 
cynical philosopher, Cresceus, who was provoked to knock 
bun on the head for bringing a charge which we have 
had Christian bishops who would have felt more disposed 
to forgive than to resent. || 

The attempt to represent Justin as a mwrtyxy strongly 

* A relnctant admianon tluU do lires had been taken away; 

t P. 76, ch. 40. : P. 90. 

I The celebrated Origen had, in hia early days, been a disciple of the all- 
aceommodatiog Ammonias. — Latdnert rol. 1, p. 520. 

1). Kpifffcns yovw o w¥wrwiras ni /xry^iv ToXci TcuScpourrif ficy Toyras w^iy- 
yryicf. Crescens himself mt the fittest translation of this passage. — Euieb^ 
Bed, Hist, lib, 4, c. 15. B. 

318 PAfBin OP Tm meotti> tmmmr 

illastrates the p:eiieral character of ChriBtian martyrdom. 
Those who suffered by the most just and impartial admi* 
nistratioii of the laws, as robbers or murderers, or who 
brought on themselves the consequences of the provoca- 
tions they had given, so they made a profession of Chris- 
tianity, never failed to acquire the posthumous renown 
of martyrdom. All Christian thieves were sure to pass 
for saints ; and even our Henry VIII. and Queen Maij 
have been represented as the victims of persecution, sni- 
fering under the obstinacy of their heretical subjects. 

M SLITO, A. D. 141. 
Bishop of Sardis, 

Melito, supposed by some of the modems to be the 
same as the Angel of the Oiurch of SarcUs, whom Christ is 
represented in the Revelation of St John, as ordering 
that Apostle to address in the Epistle there dictated, was 
Bishop of Sardis in Lydia. In the very ancient Chrono- 
graphy affixed to the oldest English editions of Eusebius, 
ana which, upon die whole I find easiest to be conciliated 
to some sort of consistency with circumstances, he is 
called Meliton, and placed next to Justin, at a. d. 141» 
which is sixty-four years earlier than his place in Lard-* 
ner. He deoicated an Apology to Marcus Antoninus in 
behalf of the Christian community, then under suffering, 
which Eusebins, in his Chronicle, places at the year 170. 
As Marcus Antoninus began his reign March 7, a. d. 161, 
this Apology at least cannot be dated earlier than that 
time ; and taking it, upon the most laborious investiga- 
tion, to be one of the most genuine and authentic docu- 
ments, of so high antiquity, that antiquity could ever 
supply : it may be well esteemed to be matter of real and 
suostantial evidence. Making the due allowance for the 
barbarity of the times, and hopeiug, as we may, thai it 
was the cruelty of others, and not his own fanaticism, that 
made him an eunuch, one cannot enough admire the 
elegant simplicity and plain and rational statement of the 
probable, and therefore convincing, facts that rest on the 
authority of his most unexceptionable statement. Euse* 
bius has preserved a large fragment of this important 
document, from which Dr. Lardner liberally renders for us 
the annexed paragraph, which he says is remarkable Ibr 
politeness, as well as upon other accounts : 

** Pious men,'' says he, '^ are now persecuted and^ ha- 
rassed throughout all Asia by new decrees, which was 


METER DONE EEFORB ;* and impad^Dt sycofAants^ and 
such as covet the possessions of others^ taking occasion 
firom the edicts^ rob without fear or shame, and cease not 
to plunder those who liave offended in notiiing. If these 
tilings are done by your order, let them be thought to be 
weU done — for it is not reasonable to beliere that a just 
emperor should ever decree what is unjust — and we shall 
cheerfully bear the reward of such a death. But if this 
resdtntion and new edict, which is not fit to be enacted 
against barbarians and enemies, proceeds not from you, 
much more would we entreat you not to neglect and give 
us up to this public rapine." 

But perhaps it was not, in ]>r.Lardner'syiew,conduciye 
to the interests of piety and religion, to have continued 
his quotation into the very next paragraph of this docu- 
ment For the importance of the truth with which it teems, 
this single passage outweighs the value of a thousand 
vcAumes of factitious evidences. Other testimonies only 
serve to thicken the daikness, and to remove the truth we 
seek still finrther and further from the reach of our re^ 
search ; this leads us directly to it, and with so much the 
happier effect, as it appears to have been no part of our 
guide's design to have done so. The sincerity and devo- 
tion of this Father's mind to the Christian cause, renders 
a testimony like his such as Christians themselves must 
respect. The adverse bearing of the testimony of a friendly 
party, like the favourable bearing of the admissions of 
an enemy, is universally considered to constitute the most 
satisfactory sort of historical certainty. I hold the pre- 
servation of this important passage, and bringing it forth 
into the prominence it chaUenges, worth a place in mj 
text itsell, and the more so, as I feel assured that there is 
no writer on the Christian evidences whatever who hsis 
hitherto quoted the passage, or who, if he had possessed 
diligence of research enough to have found it, would not 
have tabsn pains to bury it again. This it is : 

H' yap Kou mtac ^cXoao^m, irporcpov /ucv cv /3ap/3apiMc 
i|K|biiia€v. Eirav9i|<r(UFa Sc rocc (rote t9vtei Kara rvfv avyovcrou 
mv <rov irpoYOvov fuyakiiv apxtiv, eytwii^ii fsjakiara rq. oi| 
/ScunXcca aiatov ayaOov. 

'* For the philosophy, which we profess, truly flourished 
aforetime among the biui>arous nations ; but having blos- 
somed again (or been transplanted) in the great reign of 


thy ancestor Aug^istns^ it proved to be above all things 
ominous of good fortune to thy kingdom." 

The passage continues : ** For from thenceforth the 
Roman empire increased in glory, whose inheritor now you 
are, greatly beloved indeed by sdl your subjects : both you 
and your son will be continually prayed for. Retain, 
therefore, this religion, which grew as your empire grew; 
which began with Augustus, which was reverenced' by 
your ancestors before all other religions. Only Nero ana 
Domitian, through the persuasion of certain envious and 
malicious persons, were disposed to bring our doctrine 
into hatred. But your godly ancestors corrected their 
blind Ignorance, and rebuked oftentimes by their epistles 
the rash enterprises of those who were ill affected towards 
us* And your own father wrote unto the municipal autho- 
rities in our behalf, that they should make no innovations, 
nor practice anything prejudicial to the Christians. And 
of yourself, we are fully persuaded that we shall obtain 
the object of our humble petition, in that your opinion and 
sentence is correspondent unto Uiat of your predecessorSp 
yea, and even more gracious, and far more religious/' 

This document — and it is wholly indisputable — is ab- 
solutely fatal to all the pretended historical evidences of 
Christianity, inasmuch as it demonstrates the facts — 

1st That it is not true that Christians, as such, had ever 
at any time been the objects of any extensive or notorious 
political persecution. 

2nd. That it is not true that Christianity had any such 
origin as has been generally imagined for it. 

3rd. That it is not true that it made its first appearance 
at the time generally assigned ; for, rrpwipov riKfiaaiv, it had 
flourished before that time. 

4th. That it is not true that it originated in Judea, which 
was a province of the Roman empire ; for it was an impor- 
tation from some foreign countries which lay beyond the 
boundaries of that empire. 

It is enough to arrange in their places the minor names 
of ApoUinaris, Dionysius of Corinth, Athenagoras, Theo- 
philus of Antioch, Miltiades, Serapion, and whoeyer dse 
there may have been in the space of time from Melito, 
whose testimony is so essential, till we come to those dis- 
tinguished luminaries of the church and pillars of the 
faitii, with whom it is absolutely necessary to be acquainted. 
The rest are but as sparks on tinder. 



ST. tRBNiEUS^ A.D. 192. 

Sishop of Ljfons. 

Leanied men are not agreed about the time of Irenceasy 
or of his principal worit against heresies. He was bishop. 
of Lyons in Gaul. One cannot reasonably fix him at so 
early a date as is sometimes claimed for him (as having 
been the disciple of Polycarp, who was the disciple of 
St. John)^ on account of the later date of the heresies and 
corruptions of Christianity, against which he has written, 
and which must of course have had time to have spread, 
and to have become very serious evils, before they could 
have called for the composition of so learned and laborious 
a work intended to expose and refute them. It would be 
incompatible with that argumentative generosity which I 
have proposed to myself as the principle of this Diegesis, 
to take up as a proposition the earliest date that the 
learned would g^antme for this Father, for the sake of 
pouncing on the fatal corollary that must follow ; ue, if so 
early wrote Irenseus, so much earlier still must those 
heretical forms of Christianity have obtained in the world, 
which Irenseus wrote to refute ; they, then, were not de- 
rived from Christianity, but Christianity was derived from 
them ; they are not corruptions and depravations from an ori- 
ginal stock of primitive orthodoxy, but they are themselves 
tile primitive type, and orthodoxy is either a corruption 
or an improvement upon them. Like all the rest of the 
noble army» Irenseus contrived to carry off the crown of 
martyrdom ; but as, at any rate, the blood-thirsty Pagans 
suffered him to enjoy his bishopric in peace till he was 
ninety-three years old, he had not much to complain of, in 
their expediting so slow a progress to glory. 

He is honoured by Dr. Lardner with the epithet, *^ this 
excellent person^ and is called by Photius the divine Irenaeus. 
The best account of him which the English reader can ex- 
pect to find, is in Middleton's Free Inquiry into the Miracu- 
k>us Powers, &c. in which he is neither spared nor flattered. 
The best apology for him is one of the oldest in being, and 
which we have continual occasion to remember in reading 
the works of Christian divines, '^ Remember that the Holy 
Ghost saith, Omnis homo mendax.'* We must not wonder, 
then, that Irenaeus should have been in the habit of assert- 
ing as true, not only what he himself knew to be false, but, 
in the plentitude of that security of not being contradicted, 



and of being able to cloak himself up in the sanctity of 
aflfected contempt for all who were more honest and better 
informed (on which all other chnrchmen as well as he jdace 
their ultimate reliance), that he should put forth as truth 
what he knew was impossible to be so^ and what every 
sensible man in the world must have known so too; 
that he should audaciously misread inscriptions on public 
monuments^ and pretend authorities for the proof of the 
Christian religion, even in the teeth of thousands who 
both knew and saw that there was * nothing of the sort in 

Thus he pretended that there was a monument or image 
between two bridges on die river Tyber at Rome, bearing 
an inscription to Simon the holy God,* which the Devil had 
caused to be erected there to the honour of Simon Magus, 
whom they were to be persuaded by that sort of proof 
that their ancestors had worshipped; thence to infer a 
coincidence with the apostolic history. 

Amid innumerable ridiculous stories, he tdls usf that 
John, who leaned on die breast of our Saviour, was a 
priest, a martjrr, and a doctor of divinity, and wore a 
petalon (some part of the Popish trumpery), which, on 
such authority as this, was to claim the sanction of apos* 
tolic institution. The distinctness and solemnity of his 
assurance that miracles were still in full vogue in the 
church in his days ; that *' they still possessed the power 
of raising the dead, as the Lord and his aposdes did, 
through prayer ; and that oftentimes the whole church of 
some certain place, by reason of some urgent cause, with 
fasting and chaste prayer hath brought to pass that the 
departed spirit of the dead hath returned to the corpse, and 
the man was, by the earnest pray era. of the saints, restored 
to life again." Such a man never expected that rational 
beings would believe him : no good cause would thank him 
for his advocacy. 

However early Irenaeus be placed in the order of Chris- 
tian Fathers (Dodwell supposed that he was born as early 
as the year 97, and Dr. Lardner places him at a.d. 178, and 
distinguishes him as a saint), so early prevailed many of 
the grossest absurdities and superstitions which Protes- 
tants are wont to consider as peculiarly characteristic of 
the church of Rome. 

• Euseb. lib. 2, c.d4. f Ibid. lib. 8, c.€8. 


PANTiENUS^ A.D. 103. 

PANTiSNUS has claim on our acqaintance as master of 
Clemens Alexandrinns and Origen^ and head of the uni- 
versity or school of Alexandria, in Ec^ypt; thoagh, on the 
best calculations, it wonld seem that ne was living even in 
the third centniv. His high authority is indicated, in the 
circumstance of Origen's pleading his example in justifica- 
* tion of his study of heathen learning. Photius speaks of 
him as a hearer of some who had seen the apostles, and 
even of some of the apostles themselves. 

Eusebius bears this important testimony to his character 
and place in history :* *' At that time (scil. about the period 
of the accession of Commodus) there presided in the 
school of the faithful at that place (scil. Alexandria) a man 
highly celebrated on account of his learning, by name Pan- 
tiBnus. For there had been from ancient time erected 
' among them a school of sacred learning, which remains to 
this day ; and we have understood that it has been wont 
to be furnished with men eminent for their eloquence and 
the study of divine things ; and it is said that this person 
excelled others of that time, having been brought up in 
the Stoic philosophy ; that he was nominated or sent forth 
as a missionary to preach the gospel of Christ to the na- 
tions of the East, and to have travelled into India. For 
there were yet at that time many evangelists of the word, 
animated with a divine zeal of imitating the apostles, by 
contributing to the enlargement of the gospel, and build- 
ing up the church : of whom this Pan taenus was one; who 
is said to have gone to the Indians, where it is commonly 
said he found the gospel of Matthew, written in the 
Hebrew tongue, which before his arrival had been delivered 
to some in &at country who had the knowledge of Christ, 
to whom Bartholomew, one of the apostles, is said to have 
preached, and to have left with them that writing of Mat- 
thew, and that it was preserved among them to that time. 
This Pantsenus, therefore, for his many excellent per- 
formances, was at last made president of the school of 
Alexandria, where he set forth the treasures of the divine 
principles both by word of month and by his writings.'^f 

What St. Jerom says of this ancient Christian, is to this 
purpose : '' Pantsenus, a philosopher of the Stoic sect, ac- 
cording to an ancient custom of the city of Alexandria, 
was, at the request of ambassadors from India, sent into 

* I find this passage ready translated for me by Lardner, rol. 1, p. 390. 
+ Eccles. Hist. lib. 5. c. 9. 


S94 riTHEM or thb second CKNTIIBV. 


that country by Demetrius, bishop of Alexandria, where 
he found that Bartholomew, one of the twelve aposdes, 
had preached the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, acooid- 
ing to the gospel of Matthew, which he brought back vnik 
him to Alexandria, written in Hebrew letters."* 

Here have we another clue to the real history of Chris- 
tianity, winding up to the same core of the labyrinth, and 
bringing us through a varied tract to the result which we 
have ahready ascertained, under the guidance of Melito, 
Eusebius, and Philo. Pantsenus, a missionary from the 
Therapeutan college of Alexandria, seems to have brought 
from India the idolatrous legends of the Hindoo god 
Chrishna, whom he imported into the Roman dominions, 
like a good Eclectic as he was, uniting the characters of 
the Grecian, or Phoenician Tesus, and the Indian 
Chrishna, "t/i one Lord Jesus Christ/' whose history, at 
first contained in the Diegesis, or general narrative, was 
re-edited by three Egyptian secretaries, afterwards yclept 
the evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and subse- 
quently enlarged by au appendix of Egyptian rhapsodies, 
under the denomination of the Gospel according to St. 
John. The discovery of the unknown term in a quadratic 
equation, never more entirely responded to all the requi- 
sites of the problem, than these facts do to every rational 
query that can arise out of the phenomena of the gospel 


Or, as he is entitled by Dr. Lardner, St. Clement of Alex- 
andria, was, as Eusebius intimates, originally a heatiben, 
though he succeeded Pantsenus as president of the monkish 
university of Alexandria, which mankind have to thank 
for the concoction or getting up the whole gospel scheme, 
as originally imported from India^ and modified to the 
taste of the nations which acknowledged the supremacy 
of Rome* Mr. Dodwell was of opinion that all the works 
of Clement which are remaining were written between the 
years 193 and the end of 195. His works are very exten- 
sive, his authority very high in the church, and his name 
and place in history chiefly to be remembered on account 
of the frequent quotation of his Stromata, or fragments, and 
other pieces. In point of evidence he ajflfords nothing, ex- 
cept that from the circumstance of the four gospels having 
received the more particular countenance of the Alexaii* 

, * Si. Jerom quoted by Lardner, toL 1, p. S9I. 


drine college^ over which he presided^ he and all other 
aspirants to university honours, and thb ecclesiastical 
emoluments that would follow them, must be expected to 
pay all due deference to the books his university had 
chosen to patronize. 


Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullianus, the last that 
can be read into the second century, and the very first of 
all the Latin Fathers, was, like the rest of them, originally 
a heathen, was afterwards a most zealous and orthodox 
Christian, and finally fell into heresy. He was made 
presbyter of the church of Carthage in Africa, of which he 
was a native, about a.d. 193, and died, as may be conjec- 
tured, about the year 220. As he had become tinctured 
with heresy, he lost the honour of his place in ** the noble 
am^ of martyrs,'* 

llie character of his style, as given by Lactantius, may 
be allowed by all. — " It is rugged, unpolished, and very 
obscure ;" and yet, as Cave observes, it is lofty and mas- 
culine, and carries a kind of majestic eloquence with it, 
that gives a pleasant relish to the judicious and inquisitive 
reader. '* There appears," says Lardner, *' in his writings 
frequent tokens of true unafiected humility and modesty — 
virtues in which the primitive Christians were generally 
so very eminent." 

Of this assertion of Dr. Lardner, and, consequently, of 
the character of assertions likely to be made by the Doctor 
generally, where the honour of Christianity and of Chris- 
tians was to be maintained, I leave the reader to judge 
from the annexed 

Specimen of St. TertuUian's true unaffected humility and 
modesty, in his discourse against the sin of going to the 

** You are fond of spectacles : expect the greatest of all 

Sectacles — the last and eternal judgment of the universe ! 
ow shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult^ 
when I behold so many proud monarchs and fancied gods 
groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness ; so many magis- 
trates, who persecuted the name of the Lord, liquefying in 
fiercer fires than they ever kindled against the Christians ; 
so many sage philosophers blushing in red-hot flames, with 
their deluded scholars ; so many <^ebrated poets tremb- 
before the tribimal^ not of Minos, but ci Christ ; so 


many tragedians, more tuneful in the expression of their 
own sufferings; so many dancers/'* &c. — I hope the 
reader may think here is humility and modesty enough ! 

Specimen of Tertullians manner of reasoning on ike evidence^ 

of Christ ianity.f 

'* I find no other means to prove myself to be impudent 
with success, and happily a fool, than by my contempt of 
shame ; as, for instance, — I maintain that the Son of God 
was bom : why am I not ashamed of maintaining such a 
thing ? Why ! but because it is itself a shamefol thing. 
— I maintain that the Son of God died: well, that is 
wholly credible because it is monstrously absurd, — I 
maintain that after having been buried, he rose again: 
and that I take to be absolutely true, because it was 
manifestly impossible. "| 

This language, not being protected by privilege of 
inspiration, is allowed to convey its full drift of absurdity 
to our awakened intelligence. It is safest to go to sleep 
and give God the glory, over the perfectly parallel rhap- 
sodies of the inspired chief of sinners. 

Where TertuUian is intelligible, his testimony to the 
status rerum of Christianity up to his time, is highly im- 
portant. And 'tis from his Apology addressed to the 
Emperor and the Roman Senate in the year 198, which 
Dr. Lardner justly calls his master-piece, that we collect 
a testimony corroborative of that of Melito, of Origcn 
himself, and of the highest degree of conjectural proba- 
bility, in demonstration of the utter falsehood and romance 
of the whole proposition on which Paley rests the stress 
of his Evidences of Christianity. So far is it from truth, 

* Supenuat alia spectacula, ille ultiioiis et pcrpetuas judicii dies, Ule na- 
tionibua insperatus ille derisua, cum tanta secali yetustas et tot ejus nativilatei 
UQO igoe haurientur. Quae tunc spectaculi latitudo ? quid admirer ! quid ri- 
deam ! ubi gandeam, ubi exultem, spectans tot et tantoti regesi, qui in ccelatn 
recepti nunciabantur^ in imis tenebris congemiacentes ? item praesides perae- 
cutores Dominici nominis, ssvioribusquam ipsi flammis luevierunt liquescentes ? 
Qttos sapientes philosopbos coram discipulis sub una conflagrantibus embes- 
centes, etiam Poetas> non Rhadamanti nee ad Minois sed ad inopinati Christ! 
tribunal palpitantes, &c.— //a citat locum Pagamu Obtrectatoff /». 150. Sufieai 
lectori justo pro auctoritate. — R. T. 

t De Spectaculis, c. 30. 

X So rendered and authenticated by the original text, quoted in my *' Syn- 
tagma/* p. 106, my first publication from this prison ; a work which those 
whose scandalous impostures and audacious slanders provoked, find it wisest 
to treat with contempt. The Christian War is always Parthian. Its tact is 
to throw out its calumnies, hut never to allow the accused his privilege of de-. 
fence. To read the vituperations that Christians heap-on infidels, is an exercise 
of godly piety : to yentare but to look on an infiders vindication, » playing 
wlUi edged tooUr— None«»il lo lend, ■■ they who nil in safety ! 


that Christians were ever the victims of iatolerance and 
persecution on the score of th^ir profession of a pare and 
holy doctrine^ that in addition to the testimony of the 
general sense and fairest scope of the greatest nnmber of 
texts of Scripture itself,* the truly respectable suffrage of 
Melito bishop of Sardis, the express declaration of Origen^f 
that up to his time the number of martyrs was very in- 
considerable, and above all, to the irresistible conviction of 
all the rational probabilities of the case, we may now add 


*^ That the wisest of the Roman Emperors have been pror 

tectors of the Christians. 

'* The Christian persecutors have been always men 
divested of justice, piety, and common shame, upon 
whose government you yourselves have put a brand, and 
rescinded their acts by restoring those whom they con- 
demned. But of all the Emperors down to this present 
reign, who understood any thing of religion or humanity, 
name me one who ever persecuted the Christians. On 
the contrary, we show you the excellent M. Aureiius for 
our protector and patron, who though he could not pub- 
licly set aside the penal laws, yet he did as well, he 
publicly rendered them ineffectual in another way, by 
discouraging our accusers with the last punishments, 
viz. burning alive. 

*' Does not the prison sweat with your heathen criminals 
continually ? — Do not the mines continually groan with 
the load of heathens? — Are not your wild beasts fattened 
with heathens ? — Now, among all these malefactors, 
there's not a Christian to be found for any crime but that 
of his name only, or if there be, we disown him for a 

Such langus^e as we have seenTertullian use, and such 
a spirit of annoyance and actual assault upon the rights 

* 1 Timothy, iv. 8. Godliness is profiUble. &c.—l Peter, iii. 13. And who is 
he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?— y. 16, That 
Ihey may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation. — Matthew, t. 
That they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heareo. 

"^ Quoted in Gibbon, chap. 15. 

X Reeves* Apologies of, &c. 

I This is an early specimen of primitive Quakerism, the policy of a sect of 
the most arrogant, most ignorant, fraudulent, intolerant, and inexorable men 
that ever adorned the gospel and disgraced humanity. In every thing the dia* 
metrical reverse of their professions. It may seem hard to sar that there never 
was an honest man among them ; but there never wai a hard saying so lika a 
true one. 


and liberties of their Pagan fellow cittieBS, moBtoocasion- 
ally haTe provoked the passions of any men who hai no 
snpematural graces to subdue and coerce the sentiraentB 
of nature. The spitting in a magistrate's face— the inter- 
ruption of Pagan worship^ the total expulsion ct their 
^wu chUdren and brethren from all membership, rriatifMiy 
or succession of inheritance, in the families of wlndi 
they were a part, upon their not conforming to the faitii ;* 
and all such sort of conduct as persons who desired 
martyrdom and delighted in being ill used, would be 
likely to adopt, might be followed frequently by just, and 
sometimes by excessive retribution; but — ^*Mt is certain 
that we may appeal to the grateful confessions of the 
first Christians, that the greatest part of those magistrates 
who exercised in the provinces the authority of the 
Emperor or of the Senate, and to whose hands alone the 
jurisdiction of life and death was intrusted, behaved like 
men of polished manners and liberal education, who res- 
pected the rules of justice, and who were conversant with 
the precepts of philosophy .f In one word, the Pagan 
magistrates neither were, nor pretended to be, under the 
influence of supernatural motives, and there are no 
natural motives to incline any men to be cruel and inex- 



ORIGEN, A.D. 290. 

It is only necessary to follow the isoteric or interior evi- 
dences of the Christian religion below the close of the second 
century, for the sake of bringing the reader acquainted 
with the two most distinguished persons that ever were 
concerned with it ; Origen,- its most distinguished priest, 
and Constantine, its most distinguished patron. Origen, 
was bom in that great cradle and nursery of all supersti* 
tion, Egypt, in the year 184 or 185— that is, Uie fifth or 
sixth of die Emperor Commodus, and died in the sixty- 
ninth or seventieth year of his age, a.d. 353. Though 

Qaeque Ipse minerima, ridi 

Et quorum ! Qois talia fando \ 
t GibboD*B Decline ind Fall, cEap. 15. 


Eiiflebitts flatly denies the assertion of Porph]rry, that 
Origen had been originally a heathen, — and was after- 
wards converted to Christianity, yet Origen is proud to 
vindicate to himself his imitation of his predecessor^ 
Pantaenus, in the study of profane learning. He had 
studied under that celebrated philosopher, Ammonius 
Saccas who, in the second century, had taught that 
''Christianity and Paganism when rightly understood, 
differed in no essential points, but had a common origin, 
and really were one and the same religion, nothing but 
the schismatical trickery of fanatical adventurers, who 
sought to bring over the trade and profits of spiritualizing 
into their own hands, having introduced a distinction 
where in reality there was no difference/' 

This was unquestionably the orthodox doctrine of the 
second century, and it so entirely quadrates with all the 
historical phenomena, that one cannot but hold it honour- 
able both to Origen's head and heart, that he has owned his 
early proficiency in the Ammoman philosophy^ under this, 
its illustrious master. 

Leonides, the father of Origen, is said to have suffered 
martyrdom, and to have been encouraged thereto by 
Origen (who was the oldest of his seven children) when 
not quite seventeen years of age : a fact, which if it were 
credible, would bear a very equivocal reading. 

In the sincerity of bis devotion to the cause of 
Monkery — from which Christianity is unquestionably 
derived " he was guilty of that rash act so well known, 
which he held to be his duty as inculcated by Christ in 
the celebrated Matt. xix. 12. His conduct at least demon- 
strates the existence of the text, as of high and unques- 
tionable antiquity in his time, and the sincere prostration 
of his mind to its constraining authority. 

This argument, adroitly handled, would constitute one 
of the very strongest evidences of Christianity: and 
played off with the blustering airs of sanctification and 
parade of learning, which are generally called in to the 
aid of canonical sophistication, might much puzzle the 
Sciolist in these studies. The difficulty, however, is in<r 
stantly dissipated upon collation of the character of the 
text itself, with the facts of history which this Die6£SI» 

1. The text itself is unworthy of the character of 
rational and moral inculcation which Christians generally 
challenge for the discourses of their divine master. 


2. It goes not to the extent of an institiitkm of the 
practice there spoken of. 

3. The practice is allowed, approved, and sanctioBedy 
but not positively enjoined or conunanded. 

4. The text implies the historical fact of sncb a practioe 
having existed long anterior to the time of the spctfdker ;— 

5. Necessarily supposes the antiquity and notoriety of 
its prevalence. — ^This it is, 

** But he said unto them. All men cannot receive this dodrine, 
save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs which 
were so born from their mother's womb, and there are some 
eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men, and there be eunuchs 
which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of hah 
ven's sake. He thnt is able to receive it, let him receive it J* 

The Jewish law, which strictly forbad the making any 
sort of cnttings in the flesh, and allowed not an eannch 
so mnch as to enter into the congregation of the Lead,* 
stands in resistless demonstration of the fact, that these 
eunnchs were aliens from the commonwealth of IsraeL We 
have to look then (where we shall assuredly find them,) 
to the monks (f E^pt, who practised these excisions, and 
whose sacred books were none other than the original, 
or first written tale, from which our three first gospels are 
derived,t which had contained the whole gospel story and 
system of doctrine as imported from India, had been 
kept in the secret archives of their monastery, and held 
binding on the consciences of all the friars of their monk- 
ish society, long anterior to the times of Augustas, in 
whose reign, or soon after, we may suppose the three 
evangelists to have been appointed by the Alexandrian 
College to give authenticated versions of them into the 
Greek language, for the purpose of the more extensive 
propagation of monkery. 

It has been said of Origen, that he bad written six 
thousand volumes. St. Jerom asserts of him, that he had 
written more than any man could read. And it is from 
his unwearied pains in reading and writing that some 
think he had the name Adamantius — ^under which, not 
without occasioning considerable perplexity, his writings 
are sometimes quoted. Lardner thus sums up his cha- 
racter ; ** He had a capacious mind, and a large compass 
of knowledge, and throughout his whole life wai^ a man 

* Dent, xxiii. 1. 

t Such was the opinion of Cusebiiis bimsclf* 


of unwearied application in studying and composing 
works of various sorts. He had the happiness of uniting 
diffluent accomplishments^ being at once the greatest 
preacher and the most learned and voluminous writer of 
the age: nor is it easy to say which is most admi- 
rable, his learning or his virtue. . In a word^ it must be 
owned, that Origen^ though not perfect, nor infallible, was 
a bright light in the church of Christ, and one of those 
rare personages that have done honour to the human 

He is undoubtedly the most distinguished personage in 
the whole drama of the Christian evidences, nor can any 
man who believes Christianity to be a blessing to man- 
kind^ have the least hesitation in pronouncing him to 
have been one of the wisest, greatest, and best of men, 
that was ever engaged in promoting it. 

Nothing is so difficult as to determine the limits of the 
part this truly great man has borne in the absolute consti- 
tution of the Christian religion. He is the first author 
who has given us a distinct catalogue of the books of the 
New Testament, the first in whose writings such a name 
occurs as expressive of such a collection of writings: 
nor would any writings that he had seen fit to reject have 
ever conquered their way into canonical authority : nor 
any that he has once admitted, have been rejected. If 
there be consistency, harmony, or any where in those 
writings an observance of historical congruity, — the 
sacred text owes its felicity to the criticisms and emen- 
dations of Origen, who pruned excrescences, exscinded 
the more glaring contradictions, inserted whole verses of 
his own pure ingenuity and conjecture, and diligently 
laboured, by claiming for the whole a mystical and allor 
gorical sense, to rescue it from the contempt of the wise, 
and to moderate its excitement on the minds of the vulgar. 

His writings contain the finest and adroitest specimens 
of under'^throwing^ that could be well adduced ; they are a 
sort of looking glass, in which either wise or simple will 
be sure to see the face he likes best. The all-adoring and 
all-digesting believer, may read his six thousand volumes 
and never be startled out of the brown study of Christian 
orthodoxy, — the reader who hath once learned to snuff 
his candle as he reads, will ever and anon perceive that 
Origen never played the fool, but once. 

* Lardncr, toI. 1, p. 5:^. 


His character needs only the apology wliidi hmiian 
natnre claims for every man — his tituatum. He was in 
every sense of the word a master spirit, — a civiliaied bring 
among the wild men of the woods. There is no oecasioa^ 
however, to act on Dr. Lardner's avowed principle of 
conc^ing facts to promote piety.* It is not to be 
deiiied, that this wisest, greatest, best that ever bore the 
Christian name, relapsed at last into Paganism — ^publicly 
denied his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, and did sacri- 
fice unto idols. I find that Eusebius as well as Lardner, 
has omitted all mention of this grand and glorious fact; 
and but for the avowed intention of Dr. Lardner to pro* 
mote true piety, I should have considered his not finding 
it in Eusebius, an excuse for the omission. It is to be 
found, however, in Origen's own writings, and is confirmed 
in his life, in the Greek of Suidas. His dolorous lamen- 
tation and repentance after this outrageous apostacy, 
presents us with the most authentic, and at the same 
time most demonstrative view of the interior character of 
the most primitive Christianity; and must satisfy those 
who dream of a state of Christianity at any time before 
the Protestant Reformation, when what are called the 
principles of the Reformation were the principles <^ 
Christianity, how grossly their Protestant teachers have 
deceived them. 

The dolorous Jjamentation of Origen, 

''In bitter afSiction and grief of mind, I address 
myself unto them which hereafter shall read me thus 
confoundedly. But how can I speak with tongue tied, 
with throat dammed up, and lips that refuse their office. 
I fall to the ground on my bare knees and make this my 
humble prayer and supplication unto all the saints, that 
they will help me, silly wretch that I am, who by reason 
of the superfluity of my sin, dare not look up unto Grod. 
O ye saints of the blessed God! with watery eyes and 
sodden cheeks soaked in grief and pain, I beseech you to 
fall down before the mercy-seat of Grod, for me miserable 
sinner. Woe is me, because of the sorrow of my heart ! 
Woe is me, for the affliction of my soul. Woe is me, O 
my mother, that ever thou broughtest me forth, an heir of 
the kingdom of God, but now become an inheritor of the 
kingdom of the Devil ; a perfect man, yea a priest, yet 

* Lardner, vol. 1, p. 562. 


found wallowing in impiety; a man beautified witb 
honour and dignity^ yet in the end blemished with igao- 
miny and shame ; a burning lights yet forthwith dark- 
ened ; a running fountain, yet by and bye dried up ; 
who will give streams of tears unto mine eyes, that I 
may bewaU my sorrowful plight : O my lost priesthood ! 

my dishonoured ministry; O all you, my tnends^ 
tender my case !* Pity me, O all ye, my friends, in that 

1 have now trodden under foot the seal and cognizance 
of my profession, and joined league with the devil ! 
Pitv me, O ye, my mends, in that I am rejected 
and cast away from the face of God. It is for my 
lewd life that I am thus polluted, and noted with 
open shame. Alas, how am I fallen! Alas^ how am 
I thus come to nought ! There is no sorrow comparable 
unto my sorrow ; there is no affliction that exceedeth my 
affliction ; there is no lamentation more lamentable than 
mine ; neither is there any sin greater than my sin ; and 
there is no salve for me. Alas ! O father Abraham ! in- 
treat for me, that I be not cut off from thy coasts. Rid 
me, O Lord, from the roaring lion ! The whole assembly of 
saints doth make intercession unto thee for me. The whole 
quire of angels do entreat thee for me. Let down upon 
me thy Holy Spirit, that with his fiery countenance he 
may put to night the crooked fiends of the devil ! Let 
me be received again into the joy of my God, through 
the prayers and intercessions of the saints, through the 
earnest petitions of the Church which sorroweth over me, 
and humbleth herself unto Jesus Christ ; to whom, with 
the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all glory and honour^ 
for ever and ever. Amen." So far Origen. 

I have abridged this intolerably tedious farrago, without 
breaking a single sentence, or changing or supplying one 
word not authorized by the original text. 

The most distinguished of all the works of Origen is 
his celebrated answer to Celsus, contained in eight books^ 
and from which, it is a very usual though an unfair thing 
to assume that we have what ought to be considered as 

* So abfolutely primitive is the Roman Catholic Church, even in the most 
exceptionable of its practices, that we hare here, the very form of words im 
wliich, to this day the benefit of masses and prayers for the souls in purgatory, 
is formally requested, as I have seen them stadc up on the walls of theit 
chapels, in Ireland : and in honest truth it must be infinitely more reasonabte 
to pray to the saints, who being like ourselves, may be wheedled to ^nr 
purpoaes, than to God, who is necessarily immutable, and consequently inex- 


the sentiments of Celsus. The exceeding intoleraiioe of 
Christians against the writings of the enemies of their 
faith; the fact of the destruction of snch as they did 
write ; and the substitution of such as Christians them- 
selves wrote and fathered upon them, in order to make 
them seem to have made none other than such objecttons 
as were either trifling and weak in themselves, or could 
be most triumphantly answered, should stand in bar of 
all reckoning upon Origen's report of Celsus's objections. 
The historical value of this important document is pre- 
cisely this : it is a certificate to us of what the evidences 
of Christianity were at the time of its date, in refereDce 
to such objections as Christians themselves were willing to 
admit that it was liable to ; that is, it instructs ns what 
Christians thought that their adversaries could not but 
think of them. I subjoin a continuous specimen of this 
celebrated piece, freely availing myself of Bellamy's trans- 
lation; though Origen's Greek is in general so lucid 
^nd easy, that hardly any translator could mislead us. 

origen's answer to celsus. 

Chapter 1. — ^' Then Celsus goes on, and asserts that Ju- 
daism^ with which the Christian religion has a very close 
connexion, has all along been a barbarous sect, though he 
prudently forbears to reproach the Christian religion, as if 
it were of a mean and unpolished original.'* 

Chapter 2. — " Now let us see how Celsus reproaches the 
practical part of our religion, as containing nothing but 
what we have in common with the heathens, nothing that 
is new or truly great. To this I answer, that they who 
bring down the just judgments of God upon them, by their 
notorious crimes, would never suffer by Uie hand of divine 
and inflexible justice, if all mankind had not some toler- 
able notions of moral good and evil." 

Chapters 3 and 4. — A curious but idle allegory upon the 
story of the golden calf 

Chapter 5. — ^* Then Celsus, speaking of idolatry, does 
himself advance an argument that tends to justify and 
commend our practice. Therefore endeavouring to show 
in the sequel of his discourse, that our notion of image- 
worship was not a discovery that was owing to the Scrip- 
tures, but that we have it in common with the heathens ; 
he quotes a passage in Heraclitus to this effect. 

" To this I answer, that since I have already granted 
t some common notions of good and evil are originafly 


imi^anted in the minds of men^ we need not wonder that 
Ueraclitus and others^ whether Greeks or barbarians, 
have publicly acknowledged to the world, that they held 
the very same notions which u>e maintain/' 

Chapter 6. — ^' Then Celsus says, that all the power 
which the Christians had was owing to the names of cer- 
tain demons, and their invocation of them. But this is a 
most notorious calumny. For the power which the Chris- 
tians had was not in the least owing to enchantments, but 
to their pronouncing the name I. £ S. U. S., and malung 
mention of some remarkable occurrences of his life. . Nay, 
the name of I. KS.U.S. has such power over demons, 
that sometimes it has proved effectual, though pronounced 
by very wicked persons."* 

Chapter 7. — Celsus being represented to have objected 
that Christ was a very wicked man, and wrought his mira- 
cles by the power of magic, Origen answers : 

'' Though we should grant &at 'tis difficult for us to 
determine precisely by what power our Saviour wrought 
his miracles, yet 'tis very plain that the Christians 
made use of no enchantments, unless, indeed, the name 
I. E. S. U. S., and some passages of the Holy Scriptures, 
were a kind of sacred spelL'^ 

Chapter 8. — In this Chapter, Origen admits that there 
were some Arcana Imperii^ or state secrets, which are 
not fit to be communicated to the vulgar; and justifies tibe 
fieict, from the secret doctrines of the Pagan philosophy. 

Chapter 9. — Presents nothing bearing on Christian evi- 

* The prevalence of this persuasion is strongly implied in the very fur bar- 
gain proposed by Simon Magns, who, " when he »mo that through laying on qf 
the j^poitles* htmde the Holy Ohott wot given, he offered them monef, aaying, 
Oive me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy 
Ghost,** (Acts riii. 19.) And in the fatal experiment of the seven sons of Scera, 
who attempted to deal with the Devil, without having served a regular ap- 
prenticeship — Jesus I hnow, and Paul I hnow, said the Devil; ** but who are 
you r* (Acts xix. 15.) It is directly asserted by the formal proclamation of St. 
Feter, *^ Be it hnown unto you all, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, 
doth this man stand here before you whole ; for there is none other name under 
heaven in which we ought to be saved, — w « 8ci iifuu omdriyai. It is a more than 
curious quadrature with this, and many other passages to the like effect, that the 
BameJesuSfBnd even the n»me Jesus ChAst of NaMorethiMwonhi^ped in the Catholic 
church, distinctly from all relation to any pcarson whatever, as having an independ* 
ent charm and vutue in the mystical combination of the letters themselvety like 
the Abracadabra of the Egyptians, the Shem Hemofhorbsh of the Jews, 
and the Open sbssamb of ti^ Arabians. God forbid it should be thoujg^ht to 
have had no more than this sort of talismanic virtue, in its eternal repetitions at 
the close of our Protestant prayers, ** through Jesus Christ our. Lord,** which 
ought always to be chanted! 


.11.^--* And Cclms continues his discourse, and 
ni tnabrace no opinions bat nnder the conduct 
i rettsuB, on account of the many and gross 
tc«c9> ni wiucfi the contrary practice will shamefully and 
ii^nMiniiTiT expose os. And he compares those persons 
%m0 SHU ttp any notions without due examination, to the 
liirmnr priests of Mithras, Bacchus, Cybele, Hecate, or 
4fliv viditir muck deity of the heathens. For as these im- 
wtftuRk haTinic once got the ascendant over the common 
p«upie» who were arrtvssly isrnorant, could turn and wind 
uiese silly cuttle^ as their interest or fancy might direct, * 
si> be saTs^ the Tery same thing was known to be the 
cuouioii practice of the Christians. '* 

Itt JUL^wer to thi£» really formidable objection, instead of 
piudttcin:: d&sdnct historical testimony to demonstrate that 
like tUfiiiory of Jesns Christ rested on rational and convinc- 
iiiic (.•videuce* iUid coold not therefore be fairly put on a 
b«e4 wKh the tabuI%NKs le^nds of those mock deities, that 
atf««r Md JUftv exuoeace bat in the conceit of their dduded 
^orsJb|»|KT!s. l>r^;^u himself Jetends and justifies the self- 
liUMt LKtiictpIc s>itmfMcur\xuA^ from which all those fabulous 
Uw^s and mock deities derived their authority, and 

" K ^cisc ttaittber of persons who have left those horrid 
^iv^KttMJKTtcti^ lit >ifeh:ch they fonnerly wallowed, and have 
^Vies^Axi '.v^ om>mKV :ae Christian relisrion, shaU receive a 
>i«^«li utu mas^> ^''\'%ia ifthen this frail and short life is 
^MMk>i> '<K^;;«'^ -.*K'« .ioa rs:juid to examine the grounds on 
«tV\^i .*Wii iiiia > >u.i:. uor defer their conversion till they 
li^%^c % 'i\.i .>»(Kui*i t.:> ^lul capacity to apply themselves 
v^» t««4«\»u«u iiio A\i:tKHi studies. And since our adversaries 
M\^ vN^ftUiiiialtN jutkiii^ such a stirabout our taking things 
sku uu.xi, •- I .iUA\^cr« that we, who see plainly and have 
UHiUil i«V siiAi ^^au(ai;e that the common people do ma- 
uAicctU\ kxksi irenuoutly reap thereby — (who make up by 
UM the -iicatci uuuibtT) — I say, we (the Christian clenry), 
uh^ iiv :»o v^cU advised of these things, do professedly 
u>at.h uica U) believe without a severe examination." 

* \uicly Uua objection of Celsus, as allowed to have been made bv him, by 
Wi* -ulvcrMT.W in a proof that he was a wise and good man, and never did or 
«^u1J have shut hia nind against evidence, or have hardened his heart avainst 
tN^oivik'tiutt. U ii utterly imponlble that inch a man should have rejected Chrit- 
r^ bad U m kin davt poiwned historical and rational evidences. 
Is I to ! — So! 10*^ And this, it seems, was the grievance from the first. 
ilc4 rational evidence fur Christianity ; bnt Christians conid not 


Chapter 83. — ^ I have this to say farther to the Greeks^ 
who won't believe that our Savioar was bom of a Virgin ; 
that the Creator of the worlds if he pleases can make every 
animal bring forth its young in the same wonderful man* 
ner.* As for instance, the vultures which propagate their 
kind in this uncommon way, as the best writers of natural 
history do acquaint us. What absurdity is there then in 
supposing, that the all-wise God, designing to bless man- 
kind with an extraordinary and truly divine teacher, 
should so order matters, that our blessed Saviour should 
not be bom in the ordinary way of human generation.'* 

The work of Celsus, which Origen thus refutes, appears 
to have been entitled the truk word, or the True 
Logos, written at least one hundred years before the time 
of Origen. 

" Celsus and Porphyry," says Chrysostom, " are suffi- 
cient witnesses to the antiquity of the scriptures; for I 
presume that they did not oppose writings which had been 
published since their own times."t This writer, however, 
chooses to forget that it is not trae that we are in posses- 
sion of the evidence of Celsus and Porphyry. Nor would 
evidence of the antiquity of the scriptures afford any pre- 
sumption that they were written by the persons to whom 
they are ascribed ; while the presumption remains, that 
they are actually too ancient, and were, as to their general 
story and contents, in being before the life-time of those 

Dr. Lardner pronounces this answer of Origen to Celsus 
'^ an excellent performance, greatly esteemed and celebrat- 

^ Prom this it sbonld leein, that the holy Virgin laid an egg; and that our 
blCBfted Ssvioor should rather be said to bare been hatched thB.n bom. This seatt 
is further supported by the express assurance of scripture, that the male agent 
ia his generation, was « in bodily shape like a dove."— Mark i. 10, John i. 32. 
Read, also, with awful reverence, that aogelic testimony, *'7'he Holy Ohost thmU 
ctrnt MpoA tkett mid the power of the Highest »hatl — erunuatret — thee/ therefurt^ 
mkon thmi hofy thing (observe, it is not said child or bmbe^ but that holy thitigf) 
whidk ahall be boru qfthee, ehall be called the Son of God,* *— Luke i. 35. Milton 
dtscribes diis as the peculiar function of the Holy Spirit, who 

<* Dove-like, sat brooding on the vast abyss, ' 
And made it pregnant." — Paradise Loot, Book i. 

Atid m It might seem in relation to this adorable mystery, the prophet Isaish 
asks, ** Who shall declare his generation ?" Ch. liii. v, S. 1 abhor no impie^ 
more affectionately than that of our Unitarian divines, the most inconsisient, 
tbe most egregious, the most ^surd of all sophists, who hesitate not at tho 
■lOBt sndacious blasphemies npon the mystical incarnation, snd persbt Ui 
representing Christ as a mere m<ui, though unable to produce so mnch as one 
tingle proo^ either scriptural or historical, that any such mere roan ever existed 
at all. '^ Lardner, vol. W. p* ) U. 



ed, not only by Easebius and Jerom^ but likewise by many 
judicious men of late times^ particularly by Dopi#i, wl)o 
says, that it is polite; just^ and methodical ; not only the 
best work of Orifi:eny but the complelest and best writtM 
apology for the Christian religion^ which the ancients hftve 
left us."* 

8T. GRBGORY, Thaumaturgus, A. D. 243. 
Bishop of Neocasarea. 

I cannot present the reader with fairer grounds of 
judging of the whole worth and ^alue of the evidences of 
the Christian religion, than by laying before him wh|U 
those evidences will require him to believe of the charac- 
ters and actions of the most remarkable personages con- 
x:erned in its establishment and propagation. This I do« 
in none other than the lines and colours, the showing and 
acknowledgments, their own representations in their own 
words, not of the humbler and feebler advocates of Chris- 
tianity, but of such as Christians themselves with justice 
and reason boast of, as the best, discrectest and ablest 
defenders their cause ever had. If Dr. Lardner could 
not have given a just and faithful representation of what 
the evidences of the Christian religion really were, or has 
not done so ; who on earth shall be proposed as worthier 
of all acceptation? If on Aw representation it shall 
appear that Christianity rests ultimately and strictly <m 
miraculous evidence, and on the probability of a continuous 
scries of divine interpositions and interferences of the 
almighty power of God, not merely at first to promulge, 
but afterwards to propagate and continue this supemata- 
ral intimation of his will to man ; what right or reason 
have our Unitarian divines to give themselves insolent 
airs of philosophical assurance, or to affect to treat those 
who reject miraculous evidence, as if they could not do 
BO without rejecting historical fact and rational probability 
at the same time ? 

St. Gregory, Bishop of Neocaosarea in Pontus, was 
one of Origen*s most noted scholars. It is fit we should 
now have a more particular history of this renowned 
convert and bishop, of the best times or near them who 
is usually called Thaumaturgus^ or the Wonder-worker 

♦ Dupin, Bibl. Origines, p. 142. 


finr the many and great miracles wrought by him.* Gre- 
gory's parents were Gentiles. — '' As soon as Origen saw 
Gregory (when a youth), and his brother Athenodonis, he 
neglected no means to inspire them with a love of philo- 
sophy^ as a foundation of true religion and piety .f Of 
Origen they learned logic, physics, geometry, astronomy, 
ethics. He encouraged them in reading of all sorts of 
ancient authors, poets, and philosophers, whether Greeks 
or barbarians, restraining them from none but such as de- 
nied a Deity or a Providence, from whom no possible 
advantage could be obtained/' From Gregory of Nyssa, 
in Cappadocia, who flourished about a hundred years 
after this Gregory Thaumaturgus, Dr. Lardner transcribes 
the most material things of his life. Nyssen says, that 
Gregory studied secular learning for some time at Alex- 
andria ^ where there was a great resort of youth from all 
pftfts for the sake of philosophy and medicine. Our young 
Gregory was even then distinguished by the sobriety and 
discretion which appeared in his conduct. " A lewd wo- 
man having been employed by some idle people^ to dis- 
grace him by indirect but impudent insinuations, his 
reputation was vindicated in a remarkable manner, for 
the woman was immediately seized with such horrible 
fits^ as demonstrated them to be a judgment of heaven : 
nor was she relieved from the demon that had taken pos- 
•ession of her, till Gregory had interceded with God for 
her, and obtained the pardon of her fault" This miracle 
occurred while Gregory was yet a heathen — ^' his family 
however, was rich and noble." His ordination to the 
Christian ministry, it seems, took place even before his con- 
version to Christianity. " Phedimus, Bishop of Amasea, 
knowing the worth of this young man, and being grieved 
that a person of such accomplishments should live useless 
in the world, was desirous to consecrate him to God and 
his church ;" but " Gregory was shy of such a charge, and 
industriously concealed himself from the bishop, whose 

* Lardner, vol. i. p. 243. I punctilioinly gire the words of Lardner, that the 
reader may lee with what a grace this rational Sodnian grapples with miracles 
which he cannot helieve, and dare not deny. 

t This philosophy, which we meet with at every torn, as always constituting 
tbs b^si* of the Christian religion ; this uiltxandria, always the centre and nur- 
■ery of this philosophy ; these congresses of lazy- pedants in univenitiea, where 
joaam men are to be trained and broken in to the business of becoming impos* 
tontnemselves in their turn, are matters, at the least infinitely suspectable. 
Honesty never needed them ! Compare p. 314 and 819, in this DtBOBSis.— 
Juitiii, Melito, &c. Ul professors in like manner of tlus Eclectic philosophy. 



believe be copied immediately from the dictation of St 

" His history, as delivered by authors of the fourth and 
following centuries, particularly by Nyssen, it is to be 
feared, has in it somewhat of fiction; but/' adds Dr. Laid- 
ner — (yes, they are the very words of Lardner himiiclf)— 
^ there can be no reasonable doubt made but he was very 
successful in making converts to Christianity in the coun- 
try of Pontus, about the middle of the third century ; and 
that beside his natural and acquired abilities, he was 
favoured with extraordinary gifts of the spirit, and wrougki 
miracles of surprising poicer. The plain and express testi- 
monies of Basil and others, at no great distance of time 
and place from Gregory, must be reckoned sufficient 
grounds of credit with regard to these things. The extras 
ordinary gifis of the spirit had not then entirdy ceased; bat 
Gregory was favoured with such gifts greatly beyond the 
common measure of other Christians or bishops at that 
season. Yet, as St Jerom intimates, it is likely that he 
was more famous for his signs and wonders than his wn^ 

With respect to Gregory's appointing anniversary festi- 
vals and solemnities in honour of the martyrs of his dio- 
' cese, (as I have already given the important passage from 
Mosheim, in the chapter of Admissions,t) Dr. Lardnei 
contends against it, that he is ''unwilling to take this 
particular upon the credit of Nyssen ; because this childish 
method of making converts appears unworthy of so wise 
and good a man as Gregory. Nor is it likely that those 
festivals should be instituted by one who had the gift of 
miraclesy and tlierefore a much better way of bringing men 
to religion and virtue." See all these passages, purporting 
to be ifrom Dr. Lardner's immortal work on the Credibility 
of the Gospel History, in his first volume, under the article 
St. Gregory of Neocsesarea. I have selected this Life of 
Pope Gregory the Wonder-worker, not so much to show 
the picture as the painter ; and to set before my readers 
a demonstration of the important and consequential fact, 
that the ablest and most rational advocate of Christianity, 
is, in its vindication, driven on the necessity of using a 
sort of language which, on any other theme than that, he 

* His writings are not to be disparaffed, since they afford the clearest crK 
dence of the genuineness of his miracles, by proving that he iras no coi^wr, 
t See DiEGEsis, p. 48. 



would have been ashamed of. We see the most eminent 
of all writers on the Christian evidences, driven to the 
God'help-us of subscribing to a belief in the most ridicu- 
Ions and contemptible miracles, rather than he will accept, 
even from his own authorities, the clear and natural solu- 
tion of the difficulty — even that he who was ordained a 
Christian bishop, while yet he continued a Pagan, should 
have owed his success in converting others to the same 
slide-tke-butcher system which had been so successfully 
practiced on himself; that is, letting them continue Pa- 
gans all the while, only calling them Christians. 

From the short notice which Socrates has of this Father^ 
it should seem that the Holy Ghost was somewhat pre- 
mature in his gifts to Gregory^ since he got possession of 
. the power of working miracles before he became a convert 
to the Christian faith : '' being yet a layman, he wrought 
many miracles, he cured the sick, chased away devils by 
his epistles, and converted the Gentiles and Ethnics unto 
the faith, not only with words, but by deeds of far greater 

ST. CYPRIAN, A.D. 248. 

Bishop of Carthage. 

Thascius Coecilius Cyprianus was an African, who wa9 
converted from Paganism to Christianity, in the year 246, 
and suffered martyrdom in the year 258. So that the 
greatest part of his life was spent in heathenism. Cyprian 
had a good estate, which he sold and gave to the poor 
immediately upon his conversion. His advancement to 
the highest offices of the church was strikingly rapid ; 
he was made presbyter the year after his conversion, 
and bishop of Carthage, the year after that. And let it 
not seem invidious to state, what may be a characteristic 
tmth, in the words of Dr. Lardner himself, " The estate 
which Cyprian had sold for the benefit of the poor, was 
by some favourable providence restored to him again." He 
was bishop of a most flourishing church, the metropolis 
of a province, and neither in fame nor fortune a loser 
by his conversion. 

There can be no just grounds to disparage the renown 
of his martyrdom: which though unquestionably disr 

* Socrates Scholast. lib. 4, c. 22. 


graceful to the government under wluch it happened * was 
not attended with any of those aggravating circumstances 
of childish cruelty, which throw an air of suspicion over 
almost all the other narratives of martyrdom, that have 
come down to us. Cyprian had rendered himself ob- 
noxious to the government under which he bad long 
enjoyed his episcopal dignity in peace and safety :* and 
it is impossible not to see from the intolerant turbulence 
of his character, his restless ambition, and his inordinate 
claims of more than human authority; that more than 
human patience would have been required on the part of 
any government on earth, to have brooked the eternal 
clashings of the civil administration with his assomed 
superior authority over the minds of the subjects of the 
empire. He had been twice banished, and subsequently 
recalled, and reinstated in his possessions and dignities, 
but again and again persisting in holding councils and 
assemblies, and enacting decrees, in defiance and actnal 
solicitation of martyrdom, he was judicially sentenced to 
be beheaded, upon which, he exclaimed, God be thanked^ 
and suffered accordingly, on the 14th of September, in the 
year 258. As his own historians tell the tale, his exe- 
cution was attended with no additional circumstance of 
cruelty, anger, or indignation, but occurred amidst the 
sympathy of his Christian friends, and the admiration 
and regret even of those whom a sense of public duty 
had enforced to condemn him. '^ It is needless," says St 
Jcrom, " to give a catalogue of his works, they are 
brighter than the sun." St. Austin calls him a blessed 
martyr, and there can be no doubt that he has as good a 
claim, as any other tyrant who ever expiated his tyranny 
in the same way, to that title. 

* '* The couBtitution of every particular church in those times was a weU- 
tempered monarchy. The bishop was the monarch, and the presbytery wis his 
senate." — Principle* of the Cyprianic age, hy John Sage, a Scottith bithimt ltt)5, 
/. 82. *' Cyprian carried his spiritual authority to such a pitch, as to clum the 
right of putting bis rebellious and nnruly deacon to death." — TM. p.?3S. 
Surely here was cause enough to indace any gowmmcnt, to eaiSl sock m tiMlor 
|0 some sort of reckoning ! 





The character with whom, next to Origen, it most con- 
cerns the Christian inquirer to be acquainted, is the 
emperor Constantine the Great, under whose reign and 
auspices^ Christianity became the established religion, 
and but tor whom, as far as human probabilities can be 
calculated^ it never would have come down to us. 

Constantine, called the Great, son of Flavius Vale- 
rius Constantlus, surnamed Chlorus, and Helena, was 
born on the 27th of February, in the year of Christ 272, 
or as some think, in 273, or as others, in 274, was con- 
verted to the Christian religion on the night of the 26th 
of October, a.d. 312, became sole emperor both of the 
East and West, about the year 324, reigned about thirty- 
one years from the death of his father, Constantius ; and 
died on Whitsunday, May 22d, 348,* Felicianus and 
Tatian being consuls, the second year of the two hundred 
and seventy- eighth Olympiad, in the sixty-sixth year of 
his age.f 

The bearings on the evidences of the Christian religion 
demand from us — that we should inform ourselves of the 
character of this great hero of the cause, 

L As drawn by Christian historians and divines, 

2. As appearing in the incontrovertible evidence of ad- 
^nitted facts, 

3. The ostensible motives of his conversion, 

4. The evidences of the Christian religion as they ap- 
peared to him. 

I. " I do, by no means,'* says Dr. Lardner, '' think that 
Constantine was a man of cruel disposition. — (p. 342.) 
Though there may have been isome transactions in his. 
reign which cannot be easily justified, and others that 
must be condemned: yet we are not to consider Coa-^ 
stantine as a cruel prince or a bad man.'';): 

• Lardner'8 Credibitity, rol. ii. p. 327. 
t Socrates SefaolMticiw, lib. i. c. 26. 

t See my 14ih letter from Oakham, pabluJM in Um in. and Si. ^nhunt^ ol 
the LioD. 

446 FArnmm of thb poubtr oammT. 

'' Constantine was remarkably tall, of a comely and 
majestic presence, and ^eat bodily strength.* It may 
be concluded, from the whole tenor of his life, that lie 
was a person of no mean capacity. Indeed, his mind 
was equal to his fortune, great as it was, his chastity,f 
together with his valour, justice, and prudence, is com- 
mended by a heathen panegyrist ; his many acts of 
bounty to the poor, and his just edicts, are arguments 
of a merciful disposition and a love of justice. He 
was, moreover, a sincere believer of the Christian reli- 
gion, of which he, first of all the Roman emperors, 
made an open profession. 

*' In a word, the conversion of Constantine to Chris- 
tianity was a favour of divine providence, and of great 
advantage to the Christians, and his reign may be 
reckoned a blessing to the Roman empire on the 
whole." Thus far. Dr. Lardner.;]: 

I find no direcUy drawn character of Constantine in 
the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates Scholasticus, ex- 
cept that he tells us, in general terms, that ^' Constantine 
the emperor, fixing his whole mind upon such things as 
set forth the glory of God, behaved himself in all things 
as becometh a Christian, erecting churches from the 
ground, and adorning them with goodly and gorgeous con- 
secrated ornaments : moreover, shutting up the temples 
of the Heathens, and publishing unto the world (in way 
of derision) the gay images glittering within them."§ 
In his decrees and letters as preserved by this historian, 
Constantine entitles himself '' the puissant, the mighty, 
and noble emperor," and in the synodical epistle of the 
Council of Nice, he is called '* the most virtuous emperor, 
the most godly emperor, Constantine/* j| 

The mouldering pages of the historian Evagrius,. who 
had been one of the emperor's lieutenants, are enlivened 
with a truly evangelical invective against NtK? Ethnic 
Zosimus, in which no better names than, '^0 wicked 
spirit ! thou fiend of hell ! O thou lewd varlet !" &c. are 
found, for his having dared to defame the godly and noble 
emperor, Constantine.1[ 

But Eusebius — who would never lie nor falsify, 
except to promote the glory of God, — the conscientious 

* *' Whether Helena was the lanrful wife of Constantins Chlonis, or only hui> 
eoBCuhine, is a dbputahle point.'* — Lardner, foI. ii p. 822. 
t What has that to do with it ? X Vol. ii. p. S46. 

§ Socratei Sch. Bed. Hist. lib. L c. S. |) Socr»tc«, lib. i. c. 6. 

9 EirHrriiit,lib. Ui.c.41. 


Easebius Pamphilus, who has written bis life, seems to 
know no bounds of exaggeration in his praise. " I am 
amazed" (says this veracions bishop, on whose fidelity 
all oar knowledge of ecclesiastical antiquity must ulti- 
mately depend) ^* I am amazed, when I contemplate sucb 
singular piety and goodness. Moreover, when I look up 
to heaven, and in my mind behold his blessed soul living 
in God's presence, and there invested (crowned) with a 
blessed and unfading wreath of immortality ; considering 
this, I am oppressed with silent amazement^ and my 
weakness makes me dumb, resigning his due encomium to 
Almighty God, who alone can give to Constantine the 
praise he merits." 

^^ Constantine alone, of all the Roman emperors, was 
beloved of God, and hath left us the idea of his most 
pious and religious life as an inimitable example for other 
men to follow, at a humble distance."* 

" Constantine was the first of all the emperors who 
was regenerated by the new birth of baptism, and signed 
with the sign of the cross ; and being thus regenerated, 
his mind was so illuminated, and by the raptures of 
faith so transported, that he admired in himself the won- 
derful work of God : and when the centurions and cap- 
tains admitted to his presence, did bewail and mourn 
for his approaching death, because they should lose so 
good and gracious a prince, he answered them, 'that 
he now only began to live, and that he now only began 
to be sensible of happiness, and therefore, he now only 
desired to hasten, rather than to slack or stay his pas- 
sage to God.'t 

'^ For he alone of all the Roman emperors did, with 
most religious zeal, honour and worship God. He alone, 
with great liberty of speech, did profess the gospel of 
Jesus Christ. He alone, did honour his church more than 
all the rest. He alone, abolished the wicked adoration of 
idols ; and, therefore, he alone, both in his life and after 
his death, hath been crowned with such honours as no 
one hath obtained, neither among the Grecians nor Bar- 
barians, nor in former times, among the Romans. Since 
no age hath produced any thing that might be paralleled 
or compared to Constantine."^ So much for his praise ! 

* The learned reader will find I take some liberties with the tezt^ nerer de- 
parting, however, from its sense — but, " an inintitable example for aU men tc 
follow^** which is the Uterality, is Irish rather than English panegyric. 

t Life of Constantine, Hb. ir. c. 68. % Ibid* lib. nr. c. 75. 

84S r ATHBRS or the pourth centust. 

II. '* Murder, though it hath no tongue j will speak with moei 

miraculous organ.** 

The adulations of interested sycophants, and the 
applause of priests and bishops, will not erase the more 
convincing evidence of those stubborn things, facts, that 
will not be suppressed, and cannot lie. Even Lardner, 
who omits eutirelv the circumstances of aggravation, 
acknowledges the deeds, which give a very different com- 
plexion to Constantine's character, from that, which the 
honour of Christianity requires that it should wear. The 
hireling voice of priestcraft would extol him to the skies. 
Nor ought we in judging of the worth of a churchman's 
panegyric, to forget that even the cautious and ingenuous 
lArdner, who has, without evidence of a single act of 
wrong against liini, branded the amiable and matchlessly 
virtuous Julian, as a persecutor, has not one ill word to 
spare for the Christian Constantine, who drowned his 
unoffending wife, Faust a, in a bath of boiling water, 
beheaded his eldest son, Crispus, in the very year in 
which he presided in the Council of Nice, murdered the 
two husbands of his sisters Constantia, and Anastasia, 
murdered his own father-in-law, Maximian Herculius, 
murdered his own nephew, being his sister Constantia's 
son, a boy only twelve years old, and murdered a few 
others !* which actions, Lardner, with truly Christian 
moderation, tdb us, " seem to cast a reflection upom kimu" 
Among those few others, never be it forgotten, was Sopaterj 
the Pagan priest, who fell a victim and a martyr to the 
sincerity of his attachment to Paganism, and to the 
honesty of his refusing the consolations of heathenism to 
the conscience of the royal murderer. 

^* The death of Crispus, (says Dr. Lardner) is altogether 
without any g}M>d excuse ; so likewise is the death of the 
Youug Liciuiaaus* who could not then be more than n 
utile aU^ve eleven years of age, and appears not to hare 
been charged with any fault, and can hardly be suspected 
of any.'H Then why may we not con^der Constnntina 

* Hi» s)«ii«^ltr KUL HMikMikmlbr unaccd. raw ik« :-- 

MA «..H«> «t6f*»fifttker A. Dk 310 

»» H» sbipr Austuia's kiMbaad 1^4 

Hs MeWv, by CoMteCa. 319 

FM0t». H»«it«^ 39 

SiWAUc Uai fixMT rmwL »l 

cJi|!t^.!*^^^^^^^ '- 1^ 


to haye been either a cruel prince or a bad man ? *' Here 
then, (continues Lardner, whose work is written expressly 
to promote true piety and virtue,) here lies the general 
excuse, or alleviation of these faults, {peccadilloes, he 
means.) Prosperity is a dangerous state, full of tempta- 
tion, and puts men oflf their guard, and all these executions 
happened very near to one another, when Constantino 
wa»come as it were to the top of his fortune, and was in 
the greatest prosperity."* Reader! imagine thou seest 
his noble son imploring a father's mercy — but in vain. 
Imagine thou seest his innocent wife supplicating for 
rather any other death at his hands than that most horrible 
one of the boiling bath — ^but in vain. Think that thou 
seest the poor unoffending child upon his knees, lifting his 
innocent hands to beg his life, and his most holy uncle 
will not regard him. Think that thou hearest the dis- 
tracted shrieks of the fond doating mother, the beautiful 
Constantia, with dishevelled hair and heart-broken moans, 
entreating her brother to spare her son — but in vain. Not 
a wife's anguish, nor a sister's tears, nor nearness of kin- 
dred, nor matchless woman's tenderness, nor guileless 
youth's innocence, could soften the heart of this evan- 
gelical cut-throat, this godly and holy child-killer. Then, 
contemplate the coin which Eusebius tells us was struck 
to perpetuate his memory, '' whereon was engraven the 
effigies of this blessed man, with a scarf bound about hia 
head, on the one side, and on the other sitting and driving 
a chariot, and a hand reached down from heaven to receive 
and take him up.f" 

When one finds such a writer as Lardner, (to say 
nothing of the egregious falsifications of Eusebius) thus 
endeavouring to whitewash Constantino, because he was 
a Christian emperor, and to affix on those paragons of 
human virtue, Julian and Marcus Antoninus, the guilt of 
persecution, merely because they were Pagan emperors, 
not only without evidence against them, but in conflict 
vrith the most irrefragible proofs that they were as clear 
from that guilt, as the sun's disk from darkness ; it is not 
Illiberal to find the only excuse we can for these historians, 
to blame their principles rather than themselves, and to 
conclude that there is something in the strength and 
intensity of their religious affection, which suspends in 

* Lardner, toI. 9, p. 843. 

t £iiMbi«t*t lifo of CoMtastuM, book i, elwp, 73, p. 76, fol. 


them the faculty of perceiving or conuDuiiicating troths, le 
long as that afiection is in its paroxysm.* 

It is however highly honourable to Lardner, that he has 
the generosity to speak in terms of less qualified censure 
of &>nstantine's intolerance, and to admit that the two 
prevailing evils of his reign, were avarice and hypocrisy .f 
''The laws of Constantine against the heathens/' he 
acknowledges, ** are not to be justified. How should Con- 
stantine have a right to prohibit all his subjects firom 
sacrificing and worshipping at the temples? Would he 
have liked this treatment, if some other prince had become 
a Christian at that time, and he still remained a heathen? 
What reason had he to think that all men received light 
and conviction when he did ? And if they were not con- 
vinced, how could he expect that they should act as 
he did.'^t 

Monsieur Le Clerc justly observes, that ''thev that 
continued heathens were no doubt extremely shocked at 
the manner in which the statues of their gojls were treated, 
and could not consider the Christians as men of mode* 
ration ; for in short, those statues were as dear to them, 
as any thing the most sacred could be to the Christians.§ 

In the form and wording of several of Constantine's 
edicts, we have specimens of that conjunction of holiness 
and blood-thirstiness, religion and murder, which pour- 
trays his character with a precision and fidelity that needs 
no further illustration. 

1. " Constantine the puiasant, the mighty and noble emperor, 
unto the bishops, pastors, and people wheresoever, 

" Moreover we thought good, that if there can be found 
extant any work or book compiled by Arius, the same 
should be burned to ashes, so that not only his damnable 
doctrine may thereby be wholly rooted out, but also that 
no relic thereof may remain unto posterity. This also we 
straightly command and charge^ that if any man be found 
to hide or conceal any book made by Anus, and not 
immediately bring forth the said book, and deliver it up 
to be burned, that the said offender for so doing shall die 
the death. For as soon as he is taken, our pleasure is, 

* See this deduction illnstrated in a succession of the Author's letters from 
Oakham, in << The Lion,*' vol. 1. 

t Lardner's Credibility, vol. 2, p. 345. t Ibid, p. 344. 

§ Bibl. Univ. t. 15, p. 54. 


that his bead be. stricken off from his shoulders. GU>d keep 
you in his tuition."* 

Canst antine's speech in the council concerning peace and concord. 

2. " Having by God's assistance, gotten the victory 
over mine enemies^ I entreat you therefore^ beloved 
ministers of God^ and servants of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christy to cut off the heads of this hydra of heresy^ 
for so shall ye please both God and meJ'f 


As say his friends, 

** Constantine the Emperor, being certified of the tyran- 
nous government of Maxentius, devised with himself 
which way possibly he might rid the Romans from under 
this grievous yoke of servitude, and dispatch the tyrant 
out of life. Deliberating thus with himself, he forecasted 
also what God, he were best to call upon for aid, to wage 
battle with the adversary. He remembered how that 
Diocletian who wholly dedicated himself unto the service 
of the heathenish Gods, prevailed nothing thereby ; also 
he persuaded himself for certain, that his father Con- 
stantius, who renounced the idolatry of the Grentiles, led a 
more fortunate life '4 musing thus doubtfully with himself, 
and taking his journey with his soldiers, a certain vision 
appeared unto him, as it was strange to behold, so indeed 
incredible to be spoken of. About noon, the day some- 
what declining, he saw in the sky, a pillar of light, in the 
form of a cross, whereon was engraved the inscription, 
* In this overcome.' This vision so amazed the emperor, 
that he, mistrusting his own sight, demanded of them that 
were present, whether they perceived the vision, which 
when all with one consent had affirmed, the wavering 
mind of the Emperor, was settled with that divine and 
wonderful sight. The night following, Jesus Christ him- 
self appeared to him, in his sleep, saying — " Frame to 
thyself the form of a cross after the example of the sign which 
appeared unto thee, and bear the same against thy enemies as a 
jU banner, or token of victory.' "§ 

* In Socrates ScboUsUcut, lib. 1, c. 6, fol. p. 227. 

t Euseb. Vita Const, lib. 8, c. 12. 

X Compare this with the apology of Melito ; and the result is, a demonstratiQii 
that good or ill luck was all that tamed the scale between the claims of Chris- 
tianity and of Paganism. — DiEOESi8,,p. 320. 

§ Socrates Eccl. Hist lib. 1, c 1. It is to be regretted that these words of 
Christ have not been received into the canon of the New Testament, as it is 
certain there are none therein contained, of higher authority. 


But let OS hear the acooaut of '' that lewd ^atlet,* 
^* that wicked spirit and fiend of bell/'* as Socrates caUg 
hlm^ the Ethnic Zosimus, who dared to revile Constantiiie, 
and rail at Christians. These fiends of hell make none 
tiie worse historians, but always contrive to give an air 
of rational probability to their infernal falsehoods, whidi 
divine truth (being written solely to exercise oar faith) 
could never pretend to—'' This lewd varlet goeth about 
to defame the godly and noble emperor Constantine, Ux 
he saith, that he slew his son Crispus very lameiiimbhf ; 
that he dispatched his wife Fausta^ by shutting her up in 
a boiling bath ; that when he would have had his priest 
to purge him by sacrifice^ of these horrible murthers, and 
could not have his purpose, (for they had answered 
plainly, it lay not in their power to cleanse him), be 
Bghted at last upon an Egyptian who came out of Iberia, 
and being persuaded by him that the Christian faith was 
of force to wipe away every sin, were it never so heinous, 
he embraced willingly all whatever the Egyptian told 

Lardner says this is a false and absurd story ; and to 
make it appear to be so, he renders the text of Zosimus^ 
without supplying it as usual at the bottom of his page^ 
as if it had ran, that ''Constantine being conscious to him- 
self of those bad actions, and also of the breach of oaths^ 
and being told by the priests of his old religion, that there 
was no kind of purgation sufficient to expiate such enor- 
mities, he began to hearken to a Spaniard, named ^gyp- 
tins, then at Court, who assured him that the Christian 
doctrine contained a promise of the pardon of all manuer 
of sin." 

I suspect Dr. Lardner's copy of Zosimus of a menda- 
cious substitution of the words which he renders '' a Spa^ 
niard named jEgyptius, then at Court," instead of those ac- 
knowledged in the independent and hostile quotation of 
Socrates, " that " he met an Egyptian coming out of Iberia^ 
in order to keep in the back ground, as much as possible. 

* SocrateSy lib. 3, c. 40, 41. When we hemr laiiguage of this sort* itr wtKj 
be sure that somebody has been telling the truth. Consult that holy black- 
Ifuard, the Reverend Dr. J. P. S., and his Rtytdnder, for the character of the 
Author. Billingsgate surrenders the honours of the fishnnarkety to the trtn- 
wendent ruffianism of the college. 

t Ibid. lib. 3, c. 40.— See also the original text of ZoMoms to this eflM, 
giFcn in my '* Syntagma," p. 112. 

t The holy emperor had bound himself by the most solemn oaths to protect 
liciniosy but slev him notwithstanding. He had the exmnple of Che nan after 
God's own heart to Jmtiiy tfaii peccadillo, 1 Kiafe, ii. 8, 9. 


the startling denouement of historical fact, that Christianity 
10 really not of Jewish, but of Egyptian derivation.* As 
for its absurdity, thei/ should not throw stones who live in 
houses of glass. 

Sozomen has a whole chapter gn purpose to confute such 
accounts of Constantine*s conversion ; in which he admits 
(ifrhich one would think were admission enough,) that the 
emperor made some such application to a Pagan priest of 
the name of Sopatrr, who had been his faithful friend ; 
but that Sopater refused to administer spiritual consola* 
tion, asserting that the purity of the gods admitted of no 
compromise with crimes like his. Whereupon, Constantine 
applied to the bishops of Christianity, '' who promised him 
that by repentance and baptism they could cleanse him 
from all sin ;"t taking into the reckoning, we must suppose, 
the sin (if a sin they held it to be) of murdering poor 
Sopater, the Pagan priest; whom, upon his conversion to 
the Christian faith, Constantine took care to have put 
to death. 

It is from the arguments which his best friends and most 
aealous advbcates advance in his favour, and the pitiftil 
chicane with which they feebly attempt to conflict with 
the facts which his enemies, or rather the impartial docu- 
ments of history allege against him, that we gather a true 
knowledge of the character of the first Christian emperor. 

Thus the learned Christian historian Pagi, with equal 
humanity and orthodoxy, aifects to repel every accusation 
that the tongue of slander might object against this holy 
emperor : — '' As for those few murders, if Eusebius had 
thought it worth his while to refer to them, he would per- 
haps, with Baronius himself have said, that the young 
licinius (his infant nephew), although the fact might not 
generally have been known, had most likely been an 
accomplice in the treason of his father. That as to the 
murder of his son, the emperor is rather to be considered 
as unfortunate than as criminal. And with respect to his 
putting his wife to death, he ought to be pronounced 
rather a just and righteous judge. As for his numerous 
friends, whom Eutropius informs us he put to death one 
after another, we are bound to believe that they most of 

* Compare with Chap. 29, Tbe Sign of the Cross, in thisDiEOESis, p. 198. 

t Tavra ffw^wurrafupos cavrw, koi Tpoffwny9 opKMf Kara^Ki^rtif , Tpoam^i 
Tttif iffpffMri Kdbofteia curoy. — Zosimas. ASruwifowra fc rov /ScwtXca tri rif 
mwmyopwffti, mpvrvyw^ Eviricovoif, o« ftcrovoia froi fiaiwrur/utn vwttrxorr^, na01)| 

ufamfTims Kol^aifMii'.— Sosomeii. 

A A 


them deserved it, as they were found out to have abused 
the emperor's too great credulity, for the gratification of 
their own inordinate wickedness^ and insatiable avarice : 
and such no doubt was that So pater the philosopher^ 
who was at last put to death upon the accusation of Ad- 
labius, and that by the righteous dispensation of Gk>d, for 
his having attempted to alienate the mind of Gonstantiiio 
from the true religion/** Dr. Lardner quotes this impor- 
tant passage in his notes, for the benefit of the learned 
reader, but gives no rendering into English of the most 
important clause in it : which I have here supplied. 

We have horrors on horrors in detail of martyrdoms in 
the cause of Christianity — ^here was a martyr in the cause 
of Paganism, of whom, as of millions whom Christians 
massacred, it was considered a sufficiently fair aeooont 
either with Lardner to think their cases utterly unworthy 
of notice, or with Pagi to assume, that they had- their 
tfiroats cut and their property turned over to the faithful^ 
by the just dispensations of God upon them for not being 
of the emperor's religion. One's heart smarts at the 
unfeeling exultation of Eusebius over the cold-blooded 
massacres of Pagans, who, he tells us, '' as they formeriy 
reposed an insolent vain hope in their false gods, so now, 
upon being executed and put to death according to their 
desert, they truly understood how great and admirable the 
God of Constantine was."t The war against Constantine 
he throughout assumes to be, and expressly calls '' The 
war against God.'*X 

* De csdibus antem ri rationem in particulari reddere roliiinet, dtTlim 
fonitan cum ipso Baronio, Liciaiuin juniorem ex iiorore ConstmtitU natmn, dA 
causa vulgo ignoraretur, yerosimiliter tamen complicem patri ino fuisae : In 
Crispo filio, infelicem magis quam reum : In Fausta conjage, etiam josUiB 
judicem appellandum: Numerosos amicos quos successiTe interfectos scribit 
Eutropius, lib. 10, credendum, plerosque id commeritos, quod nUnii mindpii 
eredalitaU tandem deprehenderentur abuti ob suam exuberaotam maJitiMii tt 
insatiabilem cupiditatem.^ Qualis proculdabio fuit Sopater ille pbiloiophat, 
tandem Adiabio agente, interfectus, idque justa Dei dispensatione quia Con- 
stantinnm ronatun a vera religione abalienare.— Po^, ^im. 324, n. 12, quoted 
hy Lardner, vol, 4, p. 371. We cannot have this fact stated with too great 
precision. I therefore copy it as told again in another passage, which J>r. 
Lardner renders thus from Sozomen : '* I am not ignorant that the Geotilet 
are wont to Kay, that Constantine having put to death some of his relationi, and 
particularly his son Crispus, and being sorry for what he had done, applied to 
SoPATER the philosopher, and he answering, that there were no ezpiationa for 
such offences, the emperor then had recourse to the Christian biahopa, who 
told him that by repentance and baptism he might be cleansed fixiiii all tin : 
with which doctrine he was well pleated, whereupon he became |i Chriatiaik-- 
ijordner, vol. 4, p. 400. It was never on the score of being a toperior code 
oi niorality that Christianity could compete with Pagaoitm. 

t In ViU Constantine, lib. 2, c. 18. ^ 0iid, 


TV.-^The evidences of Christianity as they appeared to 


Nothing can be more relevant to our great investigation, 
than a view of the evidences of Christianity as presented 
to the mind of the royal convert Without passing any 
judgment on his character, or casting any reflections on 
Chnstianity from a consideration of the motives which 
were likely to induce such a man to become its convert, we 
are to remember that Constantine was not a disciple merely, 
but also a preacher of the Christian religion ; and has left 
us the whole apparatus of argument, upon the strength of 
which, he not only became a Christian himself, but which 
he held sufficient to convince the reason, and command 
the faith of all other persons. 

It is not possible that Christianity should ever have 

Eossessed evidence of any sort to which Constantine could 
aye been a stranger. 

It faUs not within the measure of conceivable probabi- 
lities, that so clever a man as Constantine unquestionably 
was, setting himself in an assembly of all the distinguished 
Christian clergy of his age and empire, to deliver an ora- 
tion expressly on the evidences of the Christian religion, 
should therein, have omitted all reierence to its greatest and 
grandest testimonies, and have dwelt only on such as were 
equivocal or nugatory : neither will conceit itself endure 
the supposition, that Christianity can, since his day, have 
acquired any increase of evidence, so that it should be 
possible for us of later times to have other and better rea- 
sons for believing it than our forefathers had, or that that 
which was less certain at first, should become more certain 

An attempt to give the substance of so egregious a 
rhapsody of mystical jargon as his oration to Uie clei^, 
would be only less egregious than the rhapsody itself. Let 
the reader suppose himself to -have got through the ten 
first sections of it ; and here begins the eleventh of 

Constantine^ s Oration to tlie Clergy^ 

** But I intend to prosecute the eternal decree and pur- 
pose of €rod, concerning the restoration of man's corrupted 
u&y not ignorantly, as many do, neither trusting to opi- 
nion or conjecture. For, as the Father is the cause of the 
Son, so the Son is begotten of that cause who had existence 
before all things, as we have demonstrated. But how did 

A A 2 


be descend to men on earth 1 This, was out of his own 
determinate will, because, as the prophets had foretold, he 
had a general care of all men. For needs must the Work- 
man have a care of his work. But when he came into the 
world, by assuming a bodily presence, and was to stay 
and converse some time on eaKh, for so the work of man4 
salvation required, he found a way of birth different from 
the common birth of men, for there was a conception with- 
out a marriage, a birth without a ; while a 

virgin was the mother of God. The divine essence, which 
before was only intelligible, was now become comprehen- 
sible: and incorporeal divinity was now united unto a 
material body. He was like the dove which flew out of 
Noah's ark, and rested at length on a virgin's bosom.* 
After his birth, the wonderful wisdom and providence of 
Grod protected him even from his cradle The river Jordaoi 
was honoured with his baptism ;t he had the royal auc- 
tion besides ; by his doctrine and divine power he wrought 
miracles, and healed incurable diseases. Chap. 12. We 
give thee all possible thanks, O Christ, our God and Sa- 
viour, the wisdom of the Father. Chap. 15. Moreover^ we 
certainly know that the Son of God became a master to 
instruct the wise in the doctrine of salvation, and to invite 
all men to virtue, that he called unto him honest indus- 
trious men, and instructed them in modesty of life, and 
that he taught them faith and justice, which are repugnant 
to the envy of their adversary the devil, who desireth to 
ensnare and deceive the ignorant. He also forbiddedi 
lordship and dominion,^ and showeth that he came to 
help the meek and humble. This is heavenly and divine 
wisdom, that we should rather suffer injury than do any, 
and when necessary we should rather receive loss than 
do another any wrong :§ for, seeing it is a great fiiult to do 
any injury, || not he that suffers it, but he that doth the 
injury, shall receive the greatest punishment^T This, in 
my opinion, is the firm basis of faith." 

* I sincerely admire the dove's taste, and envy him his roott: but where did 
he find the virgin, when every body was drowned ? or where did CoostantiAe 
find the story ? 

t Queiy : Was he baptized to wash away his sins, or for what ? 

X Compare this with the titles and honours which Constantine himself ano- 

ICated at that very time : and see another proof that from first to last, it was 

never understood that the moral precepts of Christ were so much as intended 

to be obeyed ; nobody sets them so much at defiance as liie moel lenknts bt* 

Jierera themselves. 

I RitB ! U Rise ! ! 

"H Biw ffaoets of FaiHiU» Criepus and Lieinins ! ! ? 


Chap. 18. ** Here we mast needs mention a certain 
testimony of Christ's divinity, fetched from those who were 
aliens and strangers from the faith. For those who con- 
tumeliously detract from him, if they will give credence to 
their own testimonies, may sufficiently understand thereby 
that he is both God and the Son of God. For the 
Erythraean Sibyl, who lived in the sixth age after the floods 
being a priestess of Apollo, did yet, by the power of 
divine inspiration, prophecy of future matters that were to 
come to pass concerning God ; and, by tlie first letters^ which 
18 called an acrostic, declared the history of Jesus. The 
acrostic is, Jesus Christus, Dei Filius, Servater, Crux.* And 
these things came into the Virgin's mind by inspiration, 
and by way of prophecy. And therefore I esteem her 
happy whom our Saviour did choose to be a prophetess, 
. to divine and foretell of his providence towards us." 

The royal preacher proceeds in the next chapter to re- 
prove the incredulity of those who doubt the genuineness 
of this sublime doggerel. 

" But the truth of the matter," he continues, " doth 
manifestly appear ; for our writers have with great study 
so accurately compared the times, that none can suspect 
that this poem was made and came forth after Christ's 
fM>ming ; and, therefore, they are convicted of falsehood 
who blaze abroad that these verses were not made by the 


And then follows Chapter 20, entiUed '^ Other verses 
of Virgil concerning Christ, in which under certain vails 

* It is thus accurately renified into English by the translator Wye Saltoa- 

I n that time, when the great Judge shall come, 

E arth shall sweat ; the Eternal King from's throne 

S hall judge the world, and all that in it be, 

U nrighteous men and righteous, shall God see 

S eated on high with saints eternall-BB. 

C ompassed, which in the age have been 
H ence shall the earth grow desolate again 
R egardless statues and gold shall be held vain. 
I n greedy flames shall bum earth seas and skies, 
S tand up again dead bodies shall, and rise, 
T hat they may see all these with their eyes. 

C leansing the faithful in twelve fountains, He 

R eign fthall for ever unto etemitee, 

V ery God that he is, and our Saviour too, 

X hrist that did tuflTe forus*-«fid / kope Hui'U 4% i 


(as poets use) this knotty mystery is set forth ;", and to 
be sure^ the fourth Bucolic of Virgil : commencing 

Sicelides muse paulo majora ctoanms ; 

(than which^ the power of imagination could hardly jump 
further away from all relation to any thing of the kina) 
is quoted as the ultimate proof and main evidence of the 
Christian revelation. 

The amount of evidence then^ for the Christian reli- 
gion in the fourth century, as far as evidence influenced 
the mind of the most illustrious convert it could ever 
boast, was the Sibylline verses, now on all hands ad- 
mitted to be a Christian forgery ; and a mystical inter- 
pretation arbitrarily put on an eclogue of Virgil, which 
neither the poet himself, nor any rational man on earth, 
ever dreamed of charging with such an application. There 
is not one of all the thousand-and-one Arabian Nights' 
Entertainments, which with an equal licence of applica- 
tion might not be shown to be as relevant and prophetical 
as this. 

Surely we had a right to expect from Constantino, that 
if evidence to the historical facts on which the gospel 
rests its claims, existed, he was the man who should have 
been acquainted with it; — this was the occasion on whieh 
it should have been brought forward. Nor are we to be 
put off with the old fox's apology — that the -grapes art tour, 
and that Constantino's testimony would have reflected 
no honour on Christianity. Who, of all the whole human 
race could better have known the fact, or with greater 
propriety have given a certificate of it, had it been true 
that such a person as Jesus Christ had suffered an igno- 
minious death under one of his predecessors in the Roman 
empery? Who, should have adduced the admission of 
Josephus, the testimony of Phlegon, the passage of 
Tacitus, nor these alone, if in his day they had existed, 
but ten thousand times their evidence, or (what would 
have been equipollent to that) should have produced the 
sign manual of Pontius Pilate, or the register itself of 
persons put to death under his viceroyalty, but Constan- 
tine, into whose hands theymusthavelinc^y descended? 
Constantine could not have been ignorant of their exist- 
ence if any man on earth had known of it, and could not 
have failed of adducing them, had he known of them him- 
self : and if he had known and adduced them, he would 


Jbave silenced the objections of millions of infidels : and^ 
if infidelity be a damnable sin, woaid have saved millions 
iirom damnation 1 Surely it was any thing rather than 
.sach a palpable forgery as the Sibylline verses^ or such 
infatuate irrelevancy as a heathen eclogue, that we should 
have a right to see assigned as a demonstration of the 
.trmtb of the Christian religion ! We wanted not allegories, 
nor mystifications, but the plain matter-of-fact evidence, 
which might have excused a man to himself as a rational 
being, in believing. Where is that evidence? Where 
the plausibility, the seeming, the shadow of an historical 
fret? — in heaven? — in hell? — in Brobdignag! Tis no- 
where upon earth. Then rail at us, ye consecrated suc- 
oessors of Constantine ! Persecute us, ye lawyers! De- 
pounce us, ye hypocrites ! Curse us all ye priests ! Rail, 
irant, and roar for it: — but never talk of evidence ! 

EUSBBIUS, A.D. 315. 

There is no name in Ecclesiastical History of equal im- 
portance with this : no character with whom it so vitally 
ooncems, every rational man to be thoroughly acquainted, 
no individual of the whole human race, on whose single res- 
ponsibility, ever hung so vast a weight of consequence. 
if Eusebius be to be numbered with wise and good men, the 
strength of his wisdom and the sincerity of his virtue, are 
sterling gold to the value of the Evidences of the Chris- 
tian religion. If he be found wanting, just in so much 
wanting must be the credibility of so much of the Chris- 
tian evidence as rests upon his testimony, and that is, aU 
but the all of it. " Without Eusebius," says the learned 
Tillemont, ^' we should scarce have had any knowledge 
of the history of the first ages of Christianity, or of the 
authors who wrote in that time. All the Greek authors 
of the fourth century who undertook to write the history 
of the church, have begun where Eusebius ended, as 
having nothing considerable to add to his labours." 

He was bom, as is generally thought, at Cassarea in 
Palestine, about the year 270. We have no account of 
his parents, or who were his instructors in early life ; nor 
is there any thing certainly known of his family and re- 
lations. He is called Pfimphilus, only in honour of his 
very particular friendship for the martyr of that name, 
who bad been a presbjrter of the church in which Euse- 


bias succeeded Agassius as bishop, in the year SUL 
Tbe name Eusebius is one of that order which learned 
men have generally claimed to themselves, and been 
allowed to hold, either as expressive of the cbaracten 
they sustained, or to conceal the meanness and obscnrily 
of their parentage, such as our Pelagins. for Morgmm; 
Calvin, for Chauvin; Melancthon, for Black earth, kc. 
Eusebius, literally signifies, otie who is correctly religious. 

There have been' several of this name, but none of tbe 
same age and character, with whom he is so likely to be 
confounded, as his contemporary, and brother by courtesy, 
Eusebius, bishop of Nicomedia, — who calls our Eusebius 
his Lord. They were entire friends, and so intimate 
that they were both of the same opinion upon the Arian 
controversy as agitated in the council of Nice, which 
was held in the year 325, and in which our Eusebius 
bore a most distinguished part. 

Eusebius Pamphilus was Bishop of Ccesarea from 
the year 315 to the year 340, in which he died, in the 70th 
year of his age, thus playing his gre^t part in life chiefly 
under the reigns of Constantine the Great and his son 
Constantius. He is the great ecclesiastical historian, with 
whom alone it is our concern to be especially acquainted. 
Ye little Cusebiuses hide your diminished heads ! 

His works bear testimony to a character of very great 
ability, of extraordinary diligence, and of an esprit-du- 
corps, or high-church passion that absorbed every other 
feeling, and would have induced him, as it did many 
others, to sacrifice not only life, but truth itself, to the 
paramount claims of the church's interests. St Jerome 
gives a catalogue of his works, which consisted of 15 
Books of Evangelical Preparation — as preparatives for 
such as were to learn the doctrine of the gospel. (So fiir 
was this great historian from apprehending that there 
was sufficient historical evidence to command any man's 
rational conviction, without a preparatory discipline — a 
breaking-in of the obstinacy of reason and common- 
sense, and " bringing down every high thought to the 
obedience of faith ;")— then followed his 20 books of Evan-^ 
gelical Demonstration, in which he proveth and confirmetb 
the doctrine of the New Testament with a confutation of 
the devil ; then five books on the Divine Apparition ;• ten 

* Or Theophany, that is " the shinimg forth of God ;** a conceit, which 
ceit itself could hardly have dreamed of, as a definiiiou of the life And advca- 
tnrct of the mn of a frail girl of Nasareth— tbe hero of the gimlet, <* O, it ool- 


bboks of Ecclesiastical History, by far the most important 
and valuable, as it is also the most defective of his 
writings — a general recital of Chronical Canons with an 
Epitome of the same ; a treatise on the Discrepancy of the 

Ten books of Commentary npon the prophet Isaiah. 

A Commentary on the \(M Psalms. 

Three books on the Jsife of his friend Pamphilus. 

Six books in Defence of Origen. 

Thirty books against Porphyry. 

Eight books against Hierocies. 

Four books of the Life of Constantine. 

Books on Martyrology. 

On Fatal Destiny. 

Three books against Marcellus, who had been bishop of 
Ancyra in Galatia, and deposed upon suspicion of heresy 
about A.D. 320. 

One book on Topics, and perhaps others innumerable, 
which nobody reads, nor would be the wiser for reading. 
His style, however, is in general good, and his Greek, very 
fluent and easy reading. 

He has been accused by some of criminal time-servings 
and of sacrificing to the gods to subserve some temporal 
purpose of his own, but not, indeed, on any satisfactory 
evidence of the fact. His Life of Constantine, however, is 
an incontrovertible demonstration against him ; that he 
never let a regard for truth stand in his way to prefer- 
ment, that he was a consummate sycophant, and that no 
man better understood, or more successfully practised, 
the courtly arts of standing well with the powers that be. 

Petavius places Eusebius among Arians, and the learned 
Cave allows that '' there are many unwary and dansenms 
expressions in his writings. He subscribed the Nicene 
creed, as he would have subscribed any other, though 
contrary to his convictions:* and to the sense of his 
writings both before and after that Council.' f On which. 
Dr. Lardner affectedly remarks, that ** it is grievous to 
think, for better had it been that the bishops of that coun- 
cil had never met together, than that they should have 

Herod's Herod !*' All other divinefl endeaTOur to subdue our reason, — the 
jMserters of the humanity of Christ insult it. 

* Like our own Archdeacon Paley, *' he could not afford tohttve a conteience.'* 
See his Life prefixed to his Evidences of Christianity. 

t Like our Archbishop Magee, ** he might have believed it in the lump, with* 
0at believing it in the particular.**-*See his Evidence before the House of Lords. 

as WXfWOB OF T1K 7ciCHm 

Cefl^cerf audi fnrf ailed upoa ft 

ooe elae, to precnnrate anil aet againiit 

'^ Thui author wa^i a witaitas «f the jolBniBu^ «f Ihr 
ChrMoaiui/* saya Dr. L&zAaa, ** in the earif pait «f 
Rfe. ami \irjf:rvf\rAA .<«aw the splendor of the GUBBk^ 
the fimt Chnatiatt Emperoc like ndstocfcer 
be haA met widi srnod report and iD report ; 
however, haj been oniirecsaDj albMred."^ * It 
(^xj% Tinemont) from hu woriu, that he had read al 
nortji of f^reek anthon, whether phiToneph iij 
or 4iTine?4, of Eeypt, Pbeniicia, rlwa, Earopc^ 
Afirira.'* ' With a Tery extenshre kiiowled« of fitnlne 
^eofitnraesi Dr. Lardner) , he seeoks to hare had the agicc ^ 
aMe ai^^ompK^ment.^ of a ftnurtier. He was bolfc a bi- 
abop and n man fiftke worU ; a jcreat anthor and a far 
meaker. We piainlj perceiTe front Us wtttzaga, that 
unrm^ the whole conrie of hu life, he was stodioiis aad 
dilia^ent, ifiAonncb that it is wondrrfol how lie ihiaild 
have had lei^nre to write so sanj laice and eialioiaie 
worfcx of different kinds, beside the dischai]^^ of the dntiei 
of bis fnnction, and beside his attendance at Coar^ at 
Synods, and the solemnities of dedicatinf chnrdbes. He 
was acquainted with all the i^reat and leuned men of his 
time, and had access to the Kbraiies of Jemsalem aad 
Ca^sarea ; which adrantaire he improred y> the utmost 
8ome majr wish that be hiaul not joined Irith the Arian 
Ui^tfn in the bard treatment that was gjren to Enstatins, 
Bishop of Antioch, Atbanasins of Alexandria, and Mai^ 
cell as of Ancyra. Bat it should be consideredy that 
C*bristian bishops in i^eneral, after the conTersicm of Con- 
stantino, ftecm to have thoaght, that they had a right to 
depose and banish all ecclesiastics who did not agree 
with them upon the points of dirinity controverted at 
that time. Finally thoagh there may be some things 
exceptionable in bis writings and conduct; his a^ for 
Uie Christian religion, his affection for the martjriSy his 
gratefal respect for his friend Pampbilas—his dUigen€:e 
in collecting excellent materials, and in composing 
useful works for the benefit of mankind ; his caation 
and scrupulousness in ruft vouching for the truth* of 
Constantinc's story of the apparition of the cross, as weD 

* Bttt Mrclv thin \jing hjwoxj, is but a more meaking and eowardlj w^ 
of lylog : lie koew that the taliehood wax aaieited, and profited bj tke fiUae* 
hopd. lie lent hb inflnencc to it, and •abteribed it with the coownt of a cri- 
■laal lileAce ! 


as other things, fuUy satisfy me,nolwithslanding what $ome 
mau say^ that he was a good as well as a great man.''* 

Du Pin says '* that Eusebius seems to have been veiy 
disinterested, very sincere,a great lover of peace, of trutib^ 
and religion. Though he had close alliances with the 
enemies of Athanasius, he appears not to have been lys 
enemy ; nor to have any great share in the quarrels of the 
bishops of that time. He was present at the ccmncils 
where unjust things were transacted, but we do not dis- 
cern that he showed signs of passion himself, or that he 
was the tool of other men's passions. He was not the 
author of new creeds — he only aimed to reconcile and re- 
unite parties. He did not abuse the interest he had witfi 
the Emperor, to raise himself, nor to ruin his enemies, as 
did Eusebius of Nicomedia, but he improved it for the 
benefit of the church." Such is his character, as drawn 
by his advocates and friends, a character unfortunately 
pregnant with admissions of enough, and more than 
enough, to justify the charges of Baronius and others, 
sincere professors of the Christian faith, who have branded 
him as the great falsifier of ecclesiastical history, a wily 
sycophant, a consummate h3rpocrite, and a time-serving 
persecutor. Indeed, there is no fair evidence in any thing 
that appears in his writings, or is known of his Ufe, to 
support our wish^ for the honour of human nature, to be- 
lieve that he himself believed the Qiristian religion. Had 
he done so, can we think that he would have deemed it 
necessary to promote that cause by forgery and impos- 
ture, by trickery and falsehood, as he has constantly en- 
deavoured to do ? 

** He had a great sseal for (he Christian religion/' says 
Dr. Lardner, and so far, undoubtedly, he was in the 
right, nevertheless he should not have attempted to s^p- 
•port it by weak and false arguments. ** It is wonderful," 
he adds, '' that Eusebius should think Philo's Thera- 
peutse were Christians, and that their ancient writings, 
should be our gospels and epistles. 

''Agbarus's letter to our Saviour, and our Saviour's 
letter to Agbarus, copied at length in our author's Eccle- 
siastical History, are much suspected by many learned 
men not to be genuine. 

'' If the testimony to Jesus as the Christ, had been 
fimn the beginning in Josephus's works, it is strange it 
nhonld never have been quoted by ancient apologists for 

■ * Lardner, Vol. 2, p; 308. 


Christianity^ and now in the beginning of the fourth caa- 
tury^ be thought so important as to be quoted by our-au- 
thor in two of his works still remaining/' That is to say, 
surely Eusebius forged it himself! for the purpose of quot- 
ing his own forgery. There was never an advocate of the 
Christian evidences yet^ whose conscience would have 
opposed any hesitation to such services, in so good a cause. 

** There is a work ascribed to Porphyry, quoted by Eu- 
sebius in his Preparation and Demonstration. If that work 
is not genuine (and I think it is not) it was a forgery of 
his own time> and the quoting it as he does, will be reck- 
oned an instance of want of care or skill, or of candour 
and impartiality." 

** Where Josephus says that Agrippa, casting his eyes 
upwards, saw an owl sitting upon a cord over his head ; 
our ecclesiastical historian says, he saw an angel. I know 
not what good apology can be made for this.*' 

So delicately does Dr. Lardner glance at the peccadil- 
loes of the great Christian historian : to say nothing of 
his entirely passing over the altogether Popish character 
of the religion he professed ; the masses said for the soul 
of Constantine, his own fulsome panegyric on that great 
monster of iniquity, and the innumerable instances of 
deceit and cunning which will be found by every shrewd 
student of his writings. 

Eusebius held that Jesus Christ created the substance 
of the Holy Ghost, and ridiculously, or rather perhaps 
sarcastically, hints that miracles were still in vogue, even 
in bis own time, only they were little ones. 

His adducing, however, of the authority of the elders 
of the churches of Lyons and Vienne, without directiy 
pledging his own authority, to obtain belief from who- 
ever would believe the stories of the martyrdoms of 
the saints of those churches, and of some whose bodies 
were actually found alive and uninjured in the stomachs 
of the wild beasts who had devoured them* is proof 
enough of his art in supplying miracles adapted to the 
meanest capacity, and a grand specimen of that pecu- 
liarly ecclesiastical finesse, in which Dr. Lardner himself 
is an exquisite proficient; the contriving to reap the 
eficct of falsehood, without incurring its responsibilities^ 
lying bi/ proTf/, and pushing what they never believed 
themselves into credence, as far as credence would follow, 
without committing themselves in any sufficientiy honest 

• Lardner's Credibility, Vol. 4, p. 91. 


expression to enable a man to lay the blame of it directly 
at their own door. Thus also, the grave and solemn Ter- 
tuUian assures us of a fact which he and all the ortho- 
dox of his time credited, that the body of a Christian 
which had been some time buried, moved itself to ofte 
side of the grave to make room for another corpse which 
toas going to be laid by it.* We have no less credible 
accounts of a holy dog, who used to slide along on his 
haunches to receive the sacrament, and to watch over the 
church- yard like a guardian angel, and when he saw any 
other dogs about to ease themselves upon the graves of 
the saints, he would instantly set on them, and teach 
them to go further. He was actually canonized by the 
Bishopof Rome, and many splendid and glorious miracles 
were wrought at the shrine of the Holy Dog, St. Towzer.f 

Saint Austin, in like manner, preached the Gospel to 
whole nations of men and women, who he assures us had 
no heads. — Query, could he mean any thing else than 
that, in believing the gospel, men and women have no 
need of heads. In a word, 

Eusebius, like many other great men was drawn into 
the frightful vortex of superstition, and had no alterna- 
tive but to whirl round in it, or sink. Like thousands of 
his order at this day, he both preached and wrote what 
he never believed himself, nor could believe. It is only 
when Religion shall more, that Hypocrisy shall be 
no more : as it is, there is but one rule in theological 
arithmetic — i. e. the greater saint, the greater liar ! 



The only definition that will express the distinction 
between orthodoxy and heresy, is, that the orthodox 
party are those who have the upper hand, the heretics are 
those who have the misfortune to get ousted. All Dissen- 
ters are heretics. Should any order of those of the present 
day come to possess themselves of the ascendancy, (which 

* TertallUn De An. c. 61, quoted by EransoD, p. 15. 

t The relict of this truly ChriBtian Doo are preserved in the parish chivch 
4>f San Andres, near Valladolid, to this day. His soul is with Jesus. We 
may laugh mX thb in England ; but he would be a brare man who laughed at it 
in Spain. — See Catholic MiracUs, p. 43. 

Grod aTert) how absard or monstrous soever tbeir relifMHyi 
tenets migbt be, tbey would forthwith become pemctlj 
orthodox ; and the church, in its turn, losing hold of the 
gtedit primum-mobik of divinity (its revenues and honoun) 
might carry with it the selfsame doctrines which it now 
holds, into a state of the most deplorable and danmaUe 
heresy. '' The learned have reckoned upwards of ninety 
different heresies which arose within the first three cen- 
turies ;" nor does it appear that even the most early and 
primitive preachers of Christianity, were able to keep the 
telling of the Christian story in their own hands, or to 
provide any sort of security for having it told in the same 

St Paul accuses St. Peter of wilfully corrupting the 
gospel of Christ,* and ^whatever we may feel ourselves 
bound to think of himself) makes no mincing of the mat- 
ter, in telling us, that the other apostles were *'fal$e 
apMtles» deceitful workers^ dogs, and liars, and that tkejf 
preached Christ out of envy and strife." f 

In the epistles ascribed to John, and which are admitted 
to have been written some time before either of our gos- 
pels ; it appears that there were persons professing the 
Christian faith, who considered that a belief that such a 
person as Jesus Christ had ever existed, was no part of 
that faith ; and that he was denied to have had any real 
existence as a man, or to have come in the flesh, at a time 
when, if that fact could have been established, there would 
have been no occasion to make a virtue of any man's 
faith : the matter could at once have been settled for ever 
on a basis of certainty that would have prevented the 
power of the mind to conceive a doubt on the subject. 

The very earliest Christian writings that have come 
down to us, are of a controversial character, and written 
in attempted refutation of heresies. These heresies must 
therefore have been of so much earlier date and prior 
prevalence ; they could not have been considered of suf- 
ficient consequence to have called (as they seem to have 
done) for the entire devotion and enthusiastic zeal of the 
orthodox party to extirpate, or keep them under, if they 
had not acquired deep root, and become of serious noto- 
riety — an inference which leads directly to the conclusion 
that they were of anterior origination to any date that has 
hitherto been ascribed to the gospel history. When the 

* GiOmtliins ii. 14; ActsxT. S9 ; Philippians iii. 9; Phil. i. 16, Jkc. 
t I John ir. 3. 

HERBT1C8. 9(i7 

simj^e fkct of the existence of such a man as Jesus 
Christ is questioned, it is usual for the modem advocates 
of Christianity to shelter themselves from all contempla- 
tion of the historical difficulties of the case, by assuming 
his existence to be incontrovertible, and that nothing 
short of idiotcy of understanding, or an intention to irri- 
tate and annoy, rather than either to seek or to communi- 
cate information, could prompt any man to moot a doubt 
on the subject ; nor is it in the power of language to ex- 
ceed the airs of insolence and domination which even our 
Unitarian theologers assume, to cloak over their inability 
to give satisfaction on this, the simplest and prime posi- 
tion of the case, by taking it for granted, forsooth, that 
none but reckless desperates, or downright fools,* could 
ever have held the human existence of Christ as proble- 
matical. We might, say they, as well affect to deny the 
existence of such an individual as Alexander the Great, 
or of Napoleon Bonaparte, and so set at defiance the 
evidence of all facts but such as our senses have attested. 
It being quite forgotten that the existence of Alexander 
and Napoleon was not miraculous, and that there never 
was on earth one other real personage whose existence 
as a real personage was denied and disclaimed even as 
soon as ever it was asserted, as was the case with respect 
to the assumed personality of Christ. But the only com- 
mon chsgracter that nins through the whole body of here- 
tical evidence, is that they one and all, from first to last^ 
deny the existence of Jesus Christ as a man, and profess- 
ing their faith in him as a God and Saviour, yet uniformly 
and consistently hold the whole story of his life and ac- 
tions to be allegorical. '* The greatest part of the Gnos- 
tics (taking that name as the most general one for all the 
heretics of the three first centuries) denied that Christ 
was clothed with a real body, or that he suffered really.*'t 
Tertullian speaks of only two heresies, that existed in 
the time of the Apostles, i.e. the DocETiE, so called from 
tile Greek AotcticnCf opinion, suspicion^ appearance merely, 
as expressive of their opinion that Christ had existed in 
appearance only, and not in reality; and the Ebionites, 
so called from the Hebrew word abionim, in expression of 
their poverty, ignorance, and vulgarity. j: Docetism, says 

* Let Any man only read the Preface to the ReT. J. R. Beard*8 Historica) 
Eridences of Christianity Unaeaailable, and imagine if he can, how either Ood 
or Pope conld erer hare thundered with more aumdouB Godhead. 

t Ifoaheim, Vol. 1, p. 136. 

t Qnoted in Lardner, vol. 4, p. A12. 


Dr. Lardner, ** seems to have derived its origin from the 
Platonic philosophy. For the followers of this opinion 
were principally among the higher classes of men, and 
were chiefly those who had been converted from heathen- 
ism to Christianity."* As far then, as such a qnestion 
admits of proofs this is absolute proof that no such a 
person as Jesus Christ ever existed, — ** Blow winds, and 
•crack your cheeks!" 


Within the immediate year of the alleged cmcifixion of 
Christ, or sooner than any other account of the mattor 
could have been made kaown> it was publicly tanght, that 
instead of having been miraculously born, and haviDr 
passed through the impotence of infancy, boyhood, and 
adolescence, he had descended on the banks of the Jordan 
in the form of perfect manhood, that be had imposed on 
the senses of his enemies, and of his disciples, and that 
the ministers of Pilate had wasted their impotent rage on 
an airy phantom.f Cotelerius has a strong passage to 
this effect, that '* it would be as it were to deny that the 
sun shines at mid-day, to question the fact that this was 
really the first way in which the gospel story was related :** 
*^ While the apostles were yet on earth, nay, while the 
blood of Christ was still recent on Mount Calvary, the 
body of Christ was asserted to be a mere phantasm.'*;}^ 

The heretics in regular succession from Simon Magos, 
so considerable a hero in the Acts of the Apostles, down- 
wards — as Menander, Marcion, Valentine, Basilides, 
Bardesanes, Cerdon, Manes, Leucius, Faustus, — ^vehe- 
mently denied the humanity of Christ. 


Though Dr. Lardncr thinks the testimony of Cerdon of 
sufficient respectability to assist the claims of the New 
Testament, and concludes that Cerdon was a Christian^ 
and received the books of the New Testament as other 
Christians did ; yet, taking that book as his guide, he 
established his sect at Rome, where he taught, (the New 

* Quoted in Lardner, vol.4, p. 628. -*- Syntagrma, p. 101. 

t Apostolis adhiic in saeculo tinpentitibus apud Judvam Chniti saogidae 
recente, et Phantasma corpus Domini asserebatar.— C'>/c/. PmtrtM 
JU>in. 2, p. 24. 


HERBTICft. 9011 

Testament in his understanding of it containing nothing 
to the contrary), that '^our Saviour Jesns Christ-was not 
bom of a yirgin, nor did appear at all in the flesh, nor 
had he descended from heaven ; but that he was seen by 
men onljputatively, that is, they ya/ic/e^f they saw him, 
but did not see him in reality^ for he was only a shadow, 
and seemed to suffer, but in reality did not suffer at all.** 


The successor of Cerdon, and himself the son of the 
orthodox bishop of that city, whose opinions, according 
to the testimony of his adversary £!pipbaDias, prevailed, 
and in his own day still subsisted throughout Italy^ 
Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, and Syria, was so far from 
beheving that our Saviour was bom of a virgin, that he 
did not allow that he had ever been bom at all. He 
maintained that the Son of God took the exterior form of 
a man, and appeared as a man, but without being bom, or 
gradually growing up to the full stature of a man, he had 
showed himself at once in Galilee, completely equipped 
for his divine mission, and that he immediately assumed 
the character of a Saviour. 

Dr. Lardner instracts us that the Marcionites (the fol- 
lowers of the opinions of Marcion) believed the miracles 
of Christ ; they moreover allowed the trath of the miracu- 
lous earthquake and darkness at the cracifixion; they 
acknowledged his having had twelve disciples, and that 
one of them was a traitor. " It is evident that these 
persons were in general strictly virtuous, that they dreaded 
sin as the greatest evil, and had such a real regard for 
Christ as to undergo martyrdom mther than offer incense 
to idols." (605.) This was at least so much more than 
Origen, with all his orthodoxy, would do. If we deny 
these men to have been Christians, to whom shall we 
oonfioe that designation ? It cannot be disputed that the 
Gospel according to St. Mark does admit of a Marcionite 
reading ; nor did these primitive dissenters entirely reject 
Luke's Gospel, though in their copy of that Grospel the 
Terse 89 of its 24th chapter* contained (he little particle 
NOT, where our copies have omitted it — an omission 

* Luke xsir. 39. *' Hmndh me mnd tee; for m spirit hmth notJUth mmd Aonex 
ctw Me MM Acw.'* The Mweionita readiiig was.— Ac " a spirU hath not tkttk 
aai bonat, at ya tea that I ha^ not."— Vi|XafiK«r« fic lau ifitr* ori w mu/ tm 
tf^m, KOI •orm omc •x**^ k^I^w *f^ ^tmp»rt ovk vx^*^** 

B B 

•J70 HEltBTlCtt. 

whichy at the first blash, seems to make a trifling dif«' 
ference. Tertallian^ in his way, is indecently eloquent in 
describing the tenets which the Marcionites held with 
lespect to the person of Christ.* 

LBUCIUS, A. D. 148. 

Or Lncian, for he had many names' — Lucanos, Lucius, 
Leicius, Lentitius, Leontius, Seleucius, Chamius, Leo- 
nides, and even Nexocharides, which mean all one and 
the scone person, was a distinguished Christian Docete, 
and one of the most eminent forgers of sacred le- 
gends of the second century. He is charged with being 
die forger of the Gospel of Nicodemus, and was 
the author of the forged acts or joumejrings of the 
Apostles. In the commentaries which go under the name 
01 Clement of Alexandria, a passage from this work is 
quoted, which says that the Apostle John,'' attempting to 
touch the body of Christ, perceived no hardness of the 
flesh, and met with no resistance from it, but thrust his 
hand into the inner part" A sense which, whatever 
sense or nonsense there be in it, is at least kept in coun- 
tenance by St. Luke's Gospel (if this Lucius and our 
Luke are not one and the same person), where Luke tells 
us of Christ's vanishing away^ which no body could do (Chap. 
24, V. 31),t and then, without any entree, standing again 
(a la vampire) in the midst of them (v. 36.). Say we no- 
thing of the corroboration from St. John's Gospel, where 
he bids Thomas thrust his hand into his side, which no 
body could have endured (John xx. 27.), but refused to let 
the lady Magdalene so much as touch him, which no body 
could have had any objection to. (v. 17.) We have no 
reason, however, to think this Leucius any the sorryer a 
Christian because Pope Gelasius has condemned him and 
his writings, declaring that all his writings are apochry- 
phal, and he himself a disciple of the devU. 

APBLLES, A.D. 160, 

That is, about twenty years afler the establishment of 
Marcion, whose disciple he had been, made a schism firom 

* Non DOTem mensium cniciatu deliberaius, non subita dolonim concu- 
%vomt per obqtoris cloacam effusus in terrain, nee moicaius uberibus din infant, 
Tix piier, tarde bomo sed de ccslo expcwitna, aemcl grandk, sem^l totos, 
Ckristus, Spiritus et Virtus et Dens tantam.^-^ifo, MardmL, 601. 

t Kou avTos apaanos cywrro eear* uurmtf. 


the Marcionite church ; and thus we trace by what de> 
grees the Docetian doctrines were brought into a nearer 
conformity to the present type of Christianity, and what 
was originally romance began to assume a certain resem- 
blance to history. 

ApBLLES renounced the doctrine of Docetism, and 
maintained that Christ was not an appearance only, but 
bad flesh really, though not derived from the Virgin Mary, 
ibr as he descended from the supercelestial places to this 
earth, he collected to himself a body out of the four ele- 
ments. Haying thus formed to himself a corporeity, he 
really appeared in this world, and taught men the know- 
ledge of heavenly things. Apelles taught that Jesus was 
really crucified, and afterwards showed that very flesh in 
which he sufiered, to his disciples ; but that afterwards, as 
he ascended, he returned the body which he had borrowed 
back again to the elements, and so completed his anabasis, 
and sat down at the right hand of God, without any body 
at all. According to this Father, however, Christ was not 
bom, nor was his body like ours ; for though it was real 
and solid, it consisted of aerial and etherial particles, not 
of such gross matter as our frail bodies are composed of. 
—It was a sort of amber. ^ 


The most learned and intelligent Manichean, whom we 
have elsewhere quoted as directly charging the orthodox 
party with having egregiously fsJsified the gospels,* (a 
cdiarge which the orthodox only answer, by retorting it 
again upon the heretics,) in his interrogative style, thus 
expresses himself—" fDo you receive the gospel? (ask ye) 
Undoubtedly I do! Why then, you also admit that 
Christ was bom ? — Not so ; for it by no means follows, 
that in believing the gospel, I should therefore believe 
that Christ was bom ! Do you not then think that he 
was of the Virgin Mary? Manes hath said, 'Far be it 
that I should ever own that our [jord Jesus Christ * 

* * * ♦ *" &c. 

* See pp. 65, 66, And 114, in this Dibgesis. 

t Accipis eFangeliiim ? Et maxime. Proiode ergo et Datum accipis Christum ? 
Non ita est. Neqne enim sequitur ut si evangelium accipio, idcirco et natuin 
acciptam Christum. Ergo non putas enm ex Maria Virgine esse ? Manes dixit, 
Absil at Dominum Dostram Jetum Christum jper uaUiraHa pudenda mulieris 
desoendisse confitear. — Lardner ita^ vol. 4, p. 20. 

B b2 



Down the whole stream of time^ to the present day, 
there has been a lon^ succession of heretics^ whose tenets 
were the diametrical reverse of these of the more early 
Christians. From Artemon, Theodotus, Sabellias, Paul of 
Samosata, Marcellus, Photinus, &o. we inherit the curse 
of the Unitarian schism, which denies the divinity, as stre- 
nuously, as the earlier Fathers had denied the humanity Sf 
Christ. The orthodox have devised a scheme that seems 
to have been intended to bring both parties together, or 
to enable them to turn their arms either against the one 
faction or the other, as political interests might prompt, 
or need require ; and the union of the two natures — per- 
fect God and perfect man — is now the orthodox divinity. 
It is, I suppose, upon inference from these difficulties, 
which never could have been started with respect 'to any 
being who had ever really existed; or which being started, 
could have been settled at once and for ever, by the pro- 
duction of any one municipal certificate, or independent 
historical testimony, that Mr. Volney, Mr. Carlile, and 
other persons who do not exactly deserve to be considered 
as idiots, have ventured to deny that any such person as 
Jesus ever existed. 

It is of essential consequence to be borne in view, that 
in order of time. 

Those who denied the humanity of Christ were the first 
class of professing Christians, and not only first in order 
of time, but in dignity of character, in intelligence, and 
in moral influence. 

Those who denied the divinity^ were the second, and in 
every sense a less philosophical and less important body. 

The junction of the two in the mongrel scheme of mo- 
dem orthodoxy, seems to have been completed in the ar- 
ticles of peace drawn up for the Council of Nice, a. d. 325. 

The deniers of the humanity of Christ, or, in a word, 
professing Christians, who denied that any such a man as 
Jesus Christ ever existed at all, but who took the name Je- 
sus Christ to signify only an abstraction, or prosopopaeia, 
the principle of Reason personified ; and who understood the 
whole gospel story to be a sublime allegory, or emblema- 
tical exhibition of the sufferings and persecutions which 
the divine principle of reason, may be supposed to undergo, 
ere it could establish its heavenly kingdMn ovei^the under- 

HBRtrrics. S73 

standings and affections of men ; — these were the first, 
and (it is no dishonour to Christianity to pronounce them) 
the best and most rational Christians. Many such fell 
victims to the sincerity of their faith, not, indeed, as is- 
monstrously pretended by the persecuting genius of Pa- 
ganism, but by the remorseless savageness of the infatu- 
ated idiots, who, having once been interested in the alle- 
gorical fiction, like our country louts or Unitarian stolids 
of the present day, would needs have it that it must all be 
true, and were ready to tear any one to pieces who at- 
tempted to deprive them of the agreeable delusion. 

The allegorical sense may, by any unsophisticated 
mind, be still traced ; and, by changing the name Jems 
throughout for that of Reason, the New Testament will 
acquire a cbaracter^of comparative dignity and consis- 
tency, which without that clue to the interpretation of it, 
would be sought for in vain. 


. Not only among the Apostles, but by those who were 
called Apostles themselves, was the reality of the cruci- 
fixion steadily denied. In the gospel of the Apostle Bar- 
nabas, of which there is extant an Italian translation 
written in 1470, or in J.480, which Toland* himself saw,, 
and which was sold by Cramer to Prince Eugene, it is- 
explicitly asserted, that *' Jesus Christ was not crucified, 
but that he was taken up into the third heavens by the 
ministry of four angels, Gabriel; Michael, Raphael, and 
Uriel ; that he should not die till the very end of the 
world, and that it was Judas Iscariot, who was cruciQ^d 
in his stead." 

This account of the matter entirely squares with the 
account which we have of the bitter and unappeaseable 
quarrel which took place between Paul and Barnabas, in 
the Acts of the Apostles,t without any satisfactory account 
of the ground of that quarrel ; as well as with the fact that 
Paul seems always to have preferred imposing his gospel 
on the ignorant and credulous vulgar, and lays such a 
significant emphasis on the distinction that he preached 
** Jesus Christ, and Him crucified^' as if in marked op- 

^ Toland's Nazarenus, Letter I. Chnp^ 5, p. 17. 

t Acts XT. 39. " And the contentiou was so skarp between them, tkmi tkof 
departed asunder onefrotn the other.** We never hear of their beiQg reconciled 
aftain-^but that ie not extraordinary— no beast in nature is so implaciible a» an 
offended saint ! 


position to his former patron, Barnabas, who preached 
Jesus Christ, but not cmcified. 

The Basilidiam, in the very beginning of Chrwtiaiiity, in 
like manner denied that Christ was crucified, and assert* 
ed that it was Simon of Cyrene, who was crucified in his 
place : which account of the matter stood its ground from 
the first to the seventh century, and was the form in whidi 
Christianity presented itself to the mind of Mahomet, 
who, after instructing us how the Yii^^ Mary conceived 
by smelling a rose, tells us, that ^' the Jews devised a stra* 
tagem against him, but God devised a stratagem against them, 
ami God is the best deviser of stratagems J' ** The malice (^ 
his enemies aspersed his reputation, and conspired i^^ainst 
his life, but their intention only was guilty, a phantom 
or a criminal was substituted on the cross, and the inno- 
'cent Jesus was translated into the seventh heaven.*'* 

So much for the evidence of the Crucifixion of Christ! 


In like manner, we have a long list of sincerely- 
professing Christians down from the earliest times, who 
denied the resurrection of Christ 

Theodoret informs ns of Cerinthus, who was contem- 
porary with the Apostle John and his followers and that 
he held and taught that Christf suffered and was crucified, 
but that he did not rise from the tomb : but that he will 
rise when there shall be a general resurrection. Phi- 
laster says of himj: that he taught that men should be 
circumcised, and observe the Sabbath, and that Christ 
was not yet risen from the dead, only he announces that 
he will rise. 

Had the Christ of the Gospels been really the founder of 
the Christian religion, certainly it would be incumbent on 
all Christians to be circumcised as he was, and to observe 
that Jewish law only, which he observed, and which he was 
so far from abrogating, that he declared that ** heaven and 
earth should pass away ere one jot or one tittle of that 
law," should be dispensed with. — Matt. v. 18. Our modem 
religionists are Paulites: The Jews alone are the follow- 
ers of the example and religion of Jesus. 

* See the Koran, C. iii. y. 53, and C. ir. ▼. 106, of Maracci's edition. 

\ Xptarw wrtot^wai km ^fnaupwrbm : /uititw Sttyvfy^pl^tu : lUKXtof U 
mfUTTtur^ai oray t) ica^kov ytm/frai vmcpttv ayaffrairis, 

X Docet autem circnmcidi et sabbatiKare et Christum nondnm resorreziaM t 
mortuis sed, resarrectunim annunciat. — Jxtrdner^ vol. 4, p, 366. 


The Cerinthians^ 
The Valentinians, 
The Marko8ians> 
The Cerdonians, 

Stand in the long and 
never interrupted sue* 

The Marcionites, y cession of Christians 

The Bardisanitesy 
The Origenists^ 
The Hierakites, 
The Manicbees^ 


who denied th^ Resur- 
rection of Christ. 

I have heard of one of the most popular and distinguished 
preachers among the Unitarians, who, upon being homely 
pressed with the question as to wliere he believed the body of 
Jesus Christ might at this moment be, pointed with his finger 
to the turf, and looked vastly droll, in intimation of his 
concurrence in that orthodox belief, so sublimely express- 
ed in the epitaphs we stumble on in Deptford church- 
yard : against which, I believe there never was an infidel 
yet, who could bring a rational objection. 

*' Go home, dear friends, dry up your tean, 
Here we shall lie, till Christ appears. 
And when he comes we hope to have 
A joyful rising from the grave.'* 

As the whole amount of the internal evidence for the 
alleged fact of the Gospel, it may then be fairly stated, 
that in contravention of the clear understanding of the 
mystical nature of the whole Mythos, which those who 
bear the brand of heresy have given us — while a thousand 
expressions in the writings of the orthodox themselves 
confirm that understanding : not so much as any two con- 
tinuous sentences can be adduced from any pen that 
wrote within a hundred years of the supposed death and 
resurrection of Christy which are such as any writer 
whatever would have written, had he himself believed 
that such events had really occurred. 




Pa LEY, in his Horse Paulinae, with that consummate 
ingenuity which might be expected from a clergyman who 
could not afford to have a conscience, has contrived to sub- 
stitute a very plausible and indeed convincing evidence of 
the existence and character of Paul of Tarsus, for a 


presumptive evidence of the troth of Christiamty* The 
instances of evidently-undesigned coincidenGe between the 
Epistles of Panl, and the history of him contained in the 
Acts of the Apostles, are indeed irrefragible : andauike oat 
the conclusion to the satisfaction of every £ur iD<iQiicr» 
that neither those epistles, nor that part of the Acts of 
the Apostles are supposititious. The hero of the one is 
unquestionably the epistoler of the other ; both writings 
are therefore genuine to the full extent of every thing 
that they purport to be, neither are the Epistles forged, nor 
is the history, as far as it relates to St. Paul, other than a 
faithful and a fair account of a person who really existed, 
and acted the part therein ascribed to him. 


Lucian, in his dialogue entitled Philopatris, speaks of a 
Galilean with a bald forehead and a long nose, who was 
carried, (or rather pretended that he had been carried) to 
the third heaven, and speaks of bis hearers as a set of 
tatterdemalions almost naked, with fierce looks, and the 
gait of madmen, who moan and make contortions; swear- 
ing by the son who was begotten by the father; predicting 
a thousand misfortunes to the empire, and cursing the 
Emperor. I have far greater pleasure in quoting the un- 


Longinus Dionysius Cassius who had been Secretary 
to Zenobia Queen of Palmyra, and died a. d. 273, 
in his enumeration of the most distinguished characters 
of Greece ; after naming Demosthenes, Lysias, JEschines, 
Aristides, and others, concludes, and ^' add to these Paul 
of Tarsus, whom I consider to be the first setter- forth 
of an unproved doctrine."* 

This testimony is, indeed, very late in time, and extends 
a very little way ; but let it avail as much as it may avail, 
there can be no doubt (whether Christianity be received 
or rejected) that Paul was a most distinguished and con- 
spicuous metaphysician, who lived and wrote about the 
time usually assigned, and that those Epistles which go 
under his name in the New Testament, are in good faith, 
(and even with less alteration than many other writings of 
equal antiquity have undergone) such as he either penned 
or dictated. Should any sincere and upright believer in 

* npos Tovrour UaoXos o Tapfftvs ovrii'a kcu irptnov ^nifu upoiffrofupmf ZtrfpuKfn 
evoatt^uerov, — Eur. M<u(a»ine. 


the Christian religion^ instead of reviling and insoltinff 
the author of this work^ or going about to increase and 
extend the horrors of that unjust imprisonment, of which 
this work has been the chief solace — set himself ably and 
conscientiously to the business of showing that from an 
admission of the genuineness and authenticity of St. Paul's 
Epistles, and of the reality of the character and part as- 
CTibed to him in the Acts of the Apostles, (always except- 
ing the miraculous) the existence of Jesus Christ as a 
man, and the general credibility of the gospel history 
would follow ; he would deserve well of the Christian com- 
munity, and of all men who wish to see truth triumphant 
over prejudice, ignorance, and error. 


This has long ago been given up as an egregious 
monkish forgery, no longer tenable; nor indeed is it ever 
adduced by our more modem and rational divines. Mr. 
Gibbon, in his caustic and expressive style, says, ^ the 
celebrated passage of Phlegon is now wisely abandoned ;"* 
but as he has not quoted it, and I find it, standing its 
ground in the celebrated Dr. Clarke's Evidences of Natural 
and Revealed Religion, I have thought it worthy of trans- 
cription in this place. This it is, 

*' fin the fourth year of the two hundred and second 
Olympiad, there was an eclipse of the sun greater than 
any ever known before ; and it was night at the sixth 
hour of the day, so that even the stars appeared, and there 
was a great earthquake in Bythinia, that overthrew several 
houses in Nice." 


''When Augustus had beard that' among the children 
in Syria, whom Herod, King of the Jews, had ordered to 
be slain under two years of age, his own son was also 
killed, he remarked that it was better to be Herod's hog 
than his son.":}: 

* Decline and Fall, cbap. 15, ad calcem, 

f TcTopTCtf S'cTct rris iicucoffiocrris 6€vrtpas oKv/iwiaios, wywtro §Kkuwvu i|Xi«v, 
fiwyumi Titty rytmpuriMyafy irporepov, km vu^ Mpf ckti) rris iifitffas rywtro anttc mu 
turrwpas cy ovpatnt ipay^yai^ koi atuTfxos* — «c. r. X. 

X Cum audisset (Aiigusliit) inter pueros quos in Syria, Herodai rex Judsornni 
intra bimatum jossit interfici, filium quoque ejus occisum, ut, " Melius eit 
Herodis porcum esse quam filiam.'* — Macrobiua^ lib. 2, c 4. — CUtrkt 8&5. 

378 ErresNAL etidbmgs. 

There is no occasion to be prolix m 
passage, which thoogfa m^ed by Dr. Gboke, mad 
oar earlier (Jhristiaii eridence wiiters, is legaided 
rally by Christiaiis themselTes- as soaiewfaat bdovr the 
line of respectability. It is not addoced by Ensebins who 
is ridicolonsty diffose on the slanghter cf the duMi cn b 
Bethlehem,* and who woold hare made mnch of it» had 
it been known to him. The probability is, that Macrobins 
might have recorded, soch a sayimg ot AagvstnSy witb 
respect to some onnataral father, or ermi of Herod him* 
self, whose cmelty to his own family was bat litde iniSeiior 
to that of the evangelical Constantine ; and some of the 
Monkish Radiajgs,+ ordexteroosly-forging scribes, might 
have thoogfat it a good exploit, to fit it with the occasion. 

The whole passage of St Matthew's Gospel, which 
relates the story of the slaughter of the innocents;, is 
marked in the improved version of the New Testament, 
as of doubtful authority ; and is indnded among some i^the 
facts, of which the Lnitarian editors of that veraimi, say 
in their note, that they have a fabulous appearamce^ 

I cannot possibly treat this delicate subject with greater 
delicacy, than by possessing my readers of the jndgment 
which a learned, intelligent, and sincere believer in the 
Christian religion, has passed upon it. 

" Josepbus and the Roman historians give us particular 
accounts of the character of this Jewish king, who 
received his sovereign authority from the Roman Emperor, 
and inform us of other acts of cruelty which he was g^ty 
of in bis own family; but of this infamous inhnmnn 
butchery, which to this day remains unparalleled in the 
annals of tyranny, they are entirely silent. Under sadi 
circumstances, if my eternal happiness depended upon it, 
I could not believe it true. But though I readily exclaim 
with Horace, non ego,X I cannot add, as he does, credat 
JudcBus Jpella ;§ for I am confident, there is no Jew that 
reads this chapter, who does not laugh at the ignorant 
credulity of those professed Christians,|| who receive 
such gross, palpable falsehoods for the inspired word of 
God, and lay the foundation of their religion upon such 
incredible fictions as these/'H 

* Eccles. Hist. lib. ] , c. 9. t PtiSirapTM. 

:Ao/// h Let the Jew Apella keUeme I 

H Siirelf this professed Christisn hud not the fear of Oakbah before kktycs. 
% Rerereiid Edward Eranson's EHssonance of the Oospeb. Ed. Ipswich 
17^2, p. 12/;. 



It was a known custom of government^ that whatever 
of moment occurred in any province of the empire, should 
be transmitted in due report from the provincial authori- 
ties to the knowledge of the Roman Emperor and the 
Senate. Of this, the correspondence of the younger Pliny 
and the emperor Trajan, as well as the natural and obvious 
necessity of the thing, is proof unquestionable. 

Upon the notoriety of this custom, and the self-evident 
inference, that it was impossible that the Procurator or re- 
presentative of the Roman authority in Judea, should have 
omitted to make a report of the existence and miracles of 
Jesus Christ ; a few years ago, the great libraries of Eng- 
land, France, Italy, and Germany, pretended tp possess 
their several authentic copies of the epistle, in which 
Publius Lentulus, the supposed predecessor of Pontius 
Pilate in the province of Judea, was believed to have 
written to the Roman Senate a most particular description 
of the person of Jesus Christ.* 

It was first found in the History of Christy as written in 
Persic by Jeremy or Hieronymus X!avier. 

In front of certain parchment manuscripts of the gos-' 
pels, written three hundred and twenty-five years ago, 
preserved in the library at Jena, there is still preserved^ 
the following inscription : 

" In the time of Octavius Caesar, Publius Lentulus, 
proconsul in the parts of Judaea and (the territory) of 
Herod the king, is said to have written this epistle to the 
Roman Senators, which was afterwards found by Eutro- 
pius in the annals of the Romans."t This commentitious 
epistle was formerly edited among orthodox writings, 
under the title, — 

*^ Lentulus, Prefect of Jerusalem, to the Senate and 
people of Rome, greeting ; 

** %ki this time, there hath appeared, and still lives, a 

* All our pictures of the haDdsome Jew, present the closest family likenew 
to the Indian Chrishna, and the Greek and Roman Apollo. Had the Jewish 
text been respected, he would rather have been exhibited as hideously ugly : 
" his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons 
of men.** — Isaiah lii. 14. But this would have spoiled the ornaments of the 
church as well as of the theatre, and been fatal to the faith of the fair sex. — 
Who could have believed in an ugly sou of God ? 

t Temporibus Octaviani Caesaris, Publius Lentulus Procos. in partibua 
Jndaes, et Herodis Regis, Senatoribus Romanis^ banc epistolam scripsisse 
fertur, qn» postea ab Eutropio reperta est in annalibus Romanorum. — Pabridi 
Cod. Apoc. torn. I, p. 802. 

t Hoc tempore vir apparuit, et adhnc virit vir preditus potentia magna^ 

eadved with great powen, wliose bow is Ji 
Christ Men say duU he is a migfatj prophet; his dis- 
ciples call him the Son of God. He restores the dead to 
life, and heab the sick from aU sorts of ailmeais and 
diseases* He is a man of stature, proportionably tafl^ 
and his cast of conntenance has a certain se v e rity in ifl^ 
so fall of effect, as to indooe bdiolders to lore, uid yet 
still to fear him. His hair is of the coloor of wine, as far 
as to the bottom of his ears, without radiaium^ and straight ; 
and from the lower part of his ears, it is carled, down to 
his shoulders, and bright, and hangs downwards fiom his 
shoulders ; at the top of his head it is parted after the 
fashion of the Nazarenes. His forehead is smooth and 
dean, and his face without a pimple, adorned by a cer- 
tain temperate redness ; his countenance gentlemanlike 
and agreeable, bis nose and mouth nothing amiss; his 
beard thick, and divided into two bunches, of the same 
colour as his hair ; bis eyes blue, and uncommonly bright 
In reproving and rebuking he is formidable ; in teaching 
and exhorting, of a bland and agreeable tongue. He has 
a wonderful grace of person united with seriousness. No 
one hath ever seen him smile, but weeping indeed they 
have. He hath a lengthened stature of body ; his hands 
arc straight and turned up, his arms are delectable ; in 
speaking, deliberate and slow, and sparing of his con- 
versation ; — the most beautiful of conntenance among the 
sons of men." 


Would not deserve a consideration among tha external 
evidences of Christianity, had it not been consecrated by 
the serious belief and earnest devotion of the largest body 

nomra ejui Jeiias Christus : Homines earn prophetam potentem dicnnty difci- 
|ioli cjui, filium Dei rocaot. Mortuos rivificat, et egros ab omnia generit 
legritudinibus et morbis sanat. Vir est attae statune proportionate, et conapectns 
vultUN ejus cum severitate, et plenus cfficacia, ut spectatores amare enm possint 
eC rursus timere. Pili capitis ejus, rinei colons usque ad fandamentum annua, 
sine radiatione et erecti, et a fundamento aurium usque ad humeros contortl, ac 
lucidi, et ab hnmeris deorsum pendentes, bifido rertice dispositi in morem Na-. 
zarsBorum. Prons plana ct pura, facies ejus sine macula quam nibor quidam 
lemperatns ornat. Aspectus ejus ingenuus et gratns. Nasus «t os ejus nnllo 
raodo reprehensibilia. Barba ejus multa, et colore pilomm capitis bifurcata : 
Oculi ejus csrulei et extreme lucidi. In reprehendendo ct objurgando formi* 
dibilis, in docendo et exiiortando blandse linguse et amabilis. Gratia miranda 
TultuH, cum gravitate. Vel semel eum ridentem nemo vidit, sed flentem imo. 
Protracts statura corporis, manus ojus recte. ct ererta;,brachia<*jutdelactalnlui. 
In li>quendo ponduraiis et gravis, et parcus loqucla. Pnlcherrimus mita intrr 


and most ancient sect of professed Christians. I make no 
remark on the story, but copy it as I find it, in a note of 
the editor on the text of Eusebius, where he relates the story 
of the correspondence of Christ and Abgams.* '' How 
that Abgarus, governor of Edcssa, sent his letter unto 
Jesus, and withal a certain painter, who might view him 
well, and bring unto him back again the lively picture of 
Jesus. But the painter not being able, for the glorious 
brightness of his gracious countenance, to look at him so 
steadily as to catch his likeness, our Saviour himself took 
an handkerchief, and laid it on his divine and lovely face, 
and by wiping of his face, his picture became impressed 
on the handkerchief, the which he sent to Abgarus." 

This story the translator gives with severe censure from 
the historian Nicephorus, and perhaps it might deserve no 
less; but that the impartial principle of this Diegbsis, 
forbids our treating any subject with levity or indifference, 
that has had power to engage the impassioned affections 
and earnest devotions of so numerous and respectable a 
portion of the Christian community. 

I copy from Blount's Philostratus, the annexed prayer, 
extracted from a Roman Catholic Liturgy, or manual of 
true piety : 

The Prayer to Veronica.f 

*' Hail Holy Face impressed on cloth ! Purge us from 
every spot of vice, and join us to the society of the 
blessed ; O blessed Figure !" 


In the same spirit of pious fraud, the Christian world 
had for ages been led to believe that the governor Pon- 
tius Pilate had sent to the emperor Tiberius, an account 
of the crucifixion of Christ ; which indeed, had such a 
person ever existed, and such an event taken place, it 
is next to impossible to conceive that he should not have 
done. But, alas, this testimony too, has been swept 
away by the terrible besom of rational criticism ; and is 
now left to lie with that of Lentulus, the Veronica hand- 
kerchief, and the Sibylline Oracles : among the number of 

* Eiiseb. Eccles. HUt. lib. 1, c. 14. 

t The name Veronica, occnre in the Gospel of Nicodemns, as that of the lady 
who came behind Jesos and touched the hem of his garment. " Veronica, iita 
Tideter Uteris transpomlis, nata ex vocabulis dnobosy vera icon, Certom est, 
imaginem ipsam Christi, a scriptoribua non paucia, diet Veronicam."— F«&. 
torn. 1, p. 2§t. 


apocrjrphal cheats and impositions, which served the pur* 
pose of imposing on generations which were more easily 
imposed on^ but are rejected with disdain and disgust by 
the increasing scepticism even of the most orthodox 

Our immediate grandfathers, were required to believe 
that Pontius Pilate informed the emperor of the unjust 
sentence of death which he bad pronounced against an 
innocent, and as it appeared, a divine person ; and that 
without acquiring the merit of martyrdom, he exposed 
himself to the danger of it, that Tiberius, who avowed 
his contempt for all religion, immediately conceived the 
design of placing the Jewish Messiah among the Grods of 
Rome ; that his servile senate ventured to disobey the 
commands of their master ; that Tiberius, instead of re- 
senting their refusal, contented himself with protecting 
the Christians from the severity of the laws, many years 
before there were any laws in existence that could operate 
against them ; and lastly, that the memory of this extra<- 
ordinary transaction was preserved in the most public 
and authentic records, only those public and authentic 
records were never seen nor heard of by any of the persons 
to whose keeping they were entrusted, escaped the know- 
ledge and research of the historians of Greece and Rome, 
and were only visible to the eyes of an African priest, 
who composed his apology one hundred and sixty years 
after the death of Tiberius. 

This testimony was first asserted by that brave as- 
sertory Justin Martyr ; and as a snowball loses nothing 
by rolling, has received successive accretions in passing 
through the hands of Tertullian, Eusebins, Epiphanias, 
Chrysostom, and Orosins, till the warm handling of modem 
criticism has thawed away its unsubstantial fabric. 

The faith of that great fatlier of pious frauds, Euse- 
bius, upon this testimony glows into a fervour of assu- 
rance, which on any other subject would look like mpic- 
dence. For after having assured us on the testimony of 
Tertullian, that Tiberius was so convinced by the account 
that Pilate had sent him, of the resurrection of Christ, 
that he threatens death to any person who should but 
bring an accusation against the Christians, when certainly 
there were no Christians ; and takes upon himself to in- 
form us, that *"it was the divine providence, that by way 

* Trjs apaviB trpoyoias Kar* oiKovofuay rar avrw wpos vmf fioKKaiunp, mt cr 
avapaSoTtcrrvs apx^'i *X*^*' tvarfytXia Xtryos vamaxoV€ yns 8mi8^/mh, lib. 2. c. 2. 


of management, injected this thought into the Emperor's 
mind, in order, that the word of the gospel, having got a 
Yair starting, might run throughout the whole world with- 
out opposition." 

The probability of the supposed occasion, was sure to 
bid for its ample supply of forgeries to be fastened upon 
it: — and as Ovid, having once got the names and circum<> 
stances of either real or imaginary personages, given as 
data, has invented imaginary speeches and epistles suit- 
able for such personages, under such circumstances to 
have delivered, so Christian piety has supplied us with 
stores of epistles — ^not which Pilate wrote, but which he 
may be supposed to have written ; which for all the 
authentication required in matters of faith, is authenti- 
cation enough. None but unbelievers would wish for 

John Albert Fabricius, has in his Ck)dex Apocryphus* 
noticed five of these supposititious epistles — of which one» 
called the Anaphora or Relation of Pilate to Tiberius is 
in Greek, and of considerable length, as intended per- 
haps, if it had told, to pass for a gospel: the others, 
short and in Latin. I have given translations of them 
already in the 22d number of the first volume of ^^ The 

The Anaphora relates the miracles of Christ as recorded 
in the Grospels ; but supplies one or two additional, as 
credible as any of the rest. It does not exactly confirai 
the account which St Matthew gives us, and which no 
Christian can doubt, . that ^^ the graves were opened, and 
many dead bodies of the saints which slept arose^ and came 
out of the graves, and went into the holy city, and appeared 
unto many?'* But it entirely corroborates the story of the 
miraculous darkness at the crucifixion, which Mr. Gibbon 
bandies witli such galling sarcasm, merely because none 
of the contemporary historians and philosophers have 
condescended to notice it. 

** There was darkness over the whole earth, the sun in 
the middle of the day being darkened, and the stars ap- 
pearing, among whose lights the moon appeared 
not, but as if turned to blood, it left its shining."t This 
additional circumstance of die moon being turned into 

* MaUhew xzvii. 52, 53. 

XofflrcSdtf'iy tan E^€U9rro iy a^krimi, to fryyos «f aifiaTt{«r« SicXflrcir.— /» jid' 
dAdit-mi Fmhriai Codie. Tom. 9. p. 07. 


bloody is no exaggeration, but is supported by the inspifed 
testimony of St Peter himself^ who not only assares us 
that tke mocn was turned into bloody bat that the whole oni- 
verse, ** Heaven above and Earth ften^af/i^ presented one Tast 
exhibition of bloody andjire, and vapour of' smoke.*** Bat 
as there must always be as good reason to beliove in mi- 
racles of light, as in miracles of darkness, and the re- 
surrection of our Saviour was surely as worthy an occa- 
sion for a display of fire^works as his crucifixion, Pilate 
assured the Emperor Tiberius, that '^ early in the morn- 
ing of the first of the Sabbaths,f the resurrection of 
Christ was announced by a display of the most astonish- 
ing and surprising feats of diiine Omnipotence ever per- 
formed. At the third hour of the night, the sun broke 
forth into such splendor as' was never before seen,;]: and 
the heaven became enlightened seven times more than • 
on any other day."§ ^' And the light ceased not to shine 
all that night."|| But the best and sublimest part of the 
exhibition, as (with reverence be it spoken) exemplify- 
ing the principle of poetical justice, and making a proper 
finale to the scene was, that '^ an instantaneous chasm 
took place, and the earth opened and swallowed up all 
the unbelieving Jews,1[ their temple and synagogues all 
vanished away ; and the next morning there was not so 
much as one of them left in all Jerusalem;** and the 
Roman soldiers who had kept the sepulchre ran staik- 
staring mad/'ff So truly may we say, righteous art 
thou, O Lord, and just are thy judgments ! 

A coincident Passage from Arnobius. 

Yet this language ascribed to Pontius Pilate, is hardly 
less hyperbolical than that which the gravest and most 
rational of the Christian Fathers is constrained to use, 
when referring to the same subject. It would not bear 
the telling in the style of historical narrative. The calm 
*and philosophical Lardner adduces this testimony of the 
no less philosophical and rational Am^ius, as evidence 
of the ^^ uncommon darkness and other surprising events 

* Acts ii. 19. t O^iof Tcroficnis, Ti|f /urns rmt^ ^mfifimmm, 

X fl^3i} 8c rpmis wpas nyr wvttros riktos, ms aScvorf , vwXXa feoMpmmt. 

i AoTc TOM Bpamw Tcrccri^cu ^tnvptnfof twrarXafftoifaf vwwf vmna rof lyttfrnt, 

II Tleunuf 8c rvirra ttctanjPf &k droMraro ro ^tn ^aatoiv. — Ikido 

\ Tw¥ 8c leiaunr iroAAot cl^wui^ cr rm xoffiuen 'ms ytfs KorcriMJ^frrcr, ms /«| 

** Trpf tofpuv ro vXryl^f rwf it^kumr rmr ra accrra t« oftn kryvfuvm/, 

Miatrvrcrywyi} tm> leHauov sue inr^Kii^dJi cv ovny nr iMpittrmki^, 

't't Ot 8c nifiarrcs to funiUMUw trrptnmrai tp dcracrct tcm^mpm.-^-k. t* 


at the time of our Lord's passion and death.*'* That 
evidence requires us to believe that, ^' when he had put 
off his body, which he carried about in a little part of 
himself, after he suffered himself to be seen, and that it 
should be known of what size he was, all the elements of 
the world, terrified at the strangeness of what had hap- 
pened, were put out of order, the earth shook and trem- 
bled, the sea was completely poured out from its lowest 
bottom, the whole atmosphere was rolled up into balls of 
daricness, the fiery orb of the sun itself caught cold and 
8hivered."f Our Christian Evidence writers are not able 
to adduce so much as a single author, friend or foe. Pagan 
or Christian, who has referred to these miraculous events 
in any way of which they themselves are not ashamed : 
not one who has related the story as if be believed it him- 
self — not one, who, however in some passages he may 
seem to speak as an historian, has not in others abun- 
dantly indicated a double sense, and shown his own secret 
understanding, not only that no such events ever happened, 
but that no such person as he of whom they are related, 
ever existed. 

JOSEPH us, A. D. 93. 

T, Flavius Josephus, a Jewish Priest of the race of the 
Asmonean princes, was born at Jerusalem, taken prisoner 
by Vespasian in his wars, was present in his camp at the 
siege of Jerusalem, and wrote a work on the Jewish An- 
tiquities, in twenty books, in the eighteenth of which, the 
third chapter, and third section, occurs the famous pas- 
sage. This it is : — 

'^ tAbout that time appeared Jesus, a wise man, if in- 
deed it be right to speak of him as a man, for he was a 
performer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as 
receive the truth with pleasure. He drew after him many 

* Lardner, vol. 2, p. 255. 

t Ezutos at corpore, quod in exig^& sui circumferebat parte, postquam vi- 
deri ae paisua est, cojaa etiet aut raagnitodiDis sciri, noritate rerum exterrita 
muodi sunt elementa turbata, telliia mota coDtremuit, mare funditus refuaam 
est : atT globis ihTolatus est tenebrarutn, igncus orbis solis tepefacto ardore 
diriguit- — p. 32. 

X Tiyercu 8c Kara rovrow roy Xf^"^^ Ii|<ro(;s, <ro^s (U'ifpy c^7< ovSpa airrov Xrycir 
Xy\ '• ^ yop irapo3io^¥ tpywv roirrniSt iiZaffKoKos ovbfwww rutv rfiovTi r'aXri^n 
8cXo/Aciwy. Kat iroWovs fiw iov9aiovSt iroXXovs 8c rou cAAi;yi«rou emfyceytro. O 
Xpurros ovros i^y, Ksu aurov cvSct^ct r<oy wpttrctv aafZpoav Top* i^fuy, (rravpto nrirc- 
rtfitiKOTos HiAarov, omc tweuHravro oiye ro vpotrow mnov ayaanfcaints. E^o^ yap 
mrroiSf rpvmv rii*MpaM cxM't iraXiy Z«y. Tw b^ufv vpo^nfrtM^ rtuna tc, kou oAAa 
/ivpia vcpi eunov ^aufimriat ttfnianmf, Eurtrirt pw, Toty XptarioMM', airo Tot4c 
mfOfAMTfMPuy, ovK ciTfXiirff ro ^Kov. 

t ' 



of the Jews, as well as of the Gentiles. This same was 
the Christ And though Pilate, by the judgment of the 
chief rulers among us, delivered him to be crucified, those 
who from the first had loved him, fell not from him, for to 
them at least, he showed himself again alive on the third 
day : this, and ten thousand other wonderful things being 
what the holy prophets had foretold concerning him ; so 
that the Christian people^ who derive their name from him, 
have not yet ceased to exist.'^ 

This passage was first quoted by Eusebius, who exolts 
over it as if he had found a prodigious prize. His exolta- 
I tion itself only serving to awaken suspicion in every 
critical mind, that the passage is but another added to the 
long list of his own most audacious forgeries, as he imme- 
diately subjoins — *' Wherefore, since this Hebrew histo- 
rian hath of old delivered these things in his own writing, 
concerning our Saviour, what evasion can save those who 
invent arguments against these things, from standing con- 
victed of downright impudence."* 

~ Yet for all this terrible defiance, the most unquestion- 
ably orthodox and best learned of the whole Christian 
world, have invented arguments against the validity of this 
passage, and have shown to absolute demonstration the 
certainty that Josephus did not write this passage, and 
the probability that Eusebius himself did. 

Mr. Gibbon in his style of most signidcant double" 
throwing^ has a note, admonishing us that ** the passage 
concerning Jesus Christ was inserted into the text of 
Josephus, between, the time of Origen and that of Euse- 
bius, and may furnish us with an example of no vulgar 

No vulgar forgery indeed ! the cool calculating wicked- 
ness, the reckless impiety, the matchless impudence of 
this detected forgery, should indeed serve us as an 
example, how to trust and how to respect Christian 
testimony. Appended as this note is, to Mr. Gibbon's 
admission of the respect due to the celebrated passage of 
Tacitus; to what other sense can it be read, than as a hint 
that Mr. Gibbon had no mind to run first in the dangerous 
business of analysing the evidences of the Christian reli- 
gion. That work must be left to Christians themselves, and 

* Tavra rov ff( avrttv tfipaiuif (Tvyypcuptus aytKO^tv tti taurov ypa^, «^ . . 
. . . . rov Cucrripos rifiwv irapaMwcaros, ris or eri Acnrorro amfiryii rw ^ 
mtfaurxvyrois, rois ttara 'wKaaofitt'oif vwofuriifiora, — Segttenti cunrmatt, 

t Decline and Fall, chap. 16. 


as no Lardner has yet given as leave to take the same 
liberty with the passage of Tacitus, ** the most sceptical 
criticism" is obliged to respect its integrity. But it will 
fall in its turn. The fate of the Sibylline oracles: of the 
forged admissions of Porphyry : of the correspondence of 
Christ and Abgarus : of the testimony of Phlegon : of the 
letter to Tiberius : of the monument to Nero : and of all 
other wicked devices that served the turn of imposing on 
the weakness of our forefathers, but will serve no longer ; 
awaits it But a few years ago, and the author who had 
suggested a suspicion against the genuineness of the pas- 
sage in Josephus, if he had happily escaped the horrors of 
a fWelvemonths' imprisonment, must at least have reck- 
oned on having to sustain his full share of that abuse 
and hatred, with which the ignorant part of the worlds 
which is unfortunately the greatest part, has generally 
rewarded the wisest and best men that ever lived in it. — 
But conviction has thus far forced itself upon the mind of 
the highest authority which Christians themselves can 
appeal to. Their own all-deciding Dr. Lardner ha^ pro- 
nounced this passage to be an interpolation.* 
" It is rejected also by Ittigius; Blondell, Le Clerc, Van- 
dale, Bishop Warburton, and Tanaquil Faber. 

This latter author suspects that Eusebius himself was 
the author of the interpolation. What then must we think 
of Eusebius ? 

We have already seen that Eusebius is the sheet-anchor 
of reliance for all we know of the three first centuries of 
the Christian history. What then must we think of the 
three first centuries of the Christian history ? 

An author who would deliberately, and with his own 
hand, forge a testimony, and foist it into the writings of 
another who never did, and probably never would, hi|ve 
borne any such testimony ; and then quote his own known 
lie, as a proof of the truth of the Christian religion, and 
deal out his anathemas against all who should presume to 
question it — What would he not have forged? What 
must not he himself have thought of the real nature and 
merits of a cause that needed to be supported by such 
means ? It is curious to see, how even after the defini- 
tive judgment of such high and confessedly orthodox au- 

* I have publiihed these arguments in my Forty-fourth, and also in my 
Ninetieth Oration, delivered before the Areopagus of the Christian Evidence 
Society, a few weeks before the commencement of the persecution which has 
Afforded me leisure for these researches. 

c c2 


thoritiesy we are still occasianally pestered with puerile 
or petulant last dying struggles^ to rescue this holy cheat 
from the sentence passed upon it — 

For faith, fanatic faith, once wedded fast 
To some dear faliehood, hugs it to the U»€. 

We are required to give a wholly different reading to 
the passage ; to introduce imaginary parentheses, to nwke 
arbitrary omissions; or egregiously to mistranslate it: 
and thus forsooth to chisel it into a supposable possibility 
that Josephus might have written it. 

Among the illustrious who have argued in this way, are 
Dr. Samuel Chandler, Dr. Nathaniel Foster, Mr. Henley, 
Mr. Bryant,* the Abb6 de Voisin, and the Abb^ Ballet 
But the learned biographer of Lardner, in his life affixed 
to the quarto edition of his works, justly concludes, '' Of 
what avail can it be to produce a testimony so doubtful 
in itself, and which some of the ablest advocates for the 
truth of the Gospel, reject as an interpolation." f 

Dr. Lardner, after having thoroughly weighed all the 
arguments that could be adduced in its favour, strenuously 
defends his former opinion, that the passage is an inter- 
polation. " It ought therefore to be forever discarded firom 
any place among the evidences of Christianity.''^: 

Dr. Lardner's arguments against the passage, in his 
own words, are these : 

1. '^ I do not perceive that we at all want the suspected 
testimony to Jesus, which was never quoted by any of 
our Christian ancestors before Eusebius. § 

2. " Nor do I recollect that Josephus has any where 
mentioned the name or word Christ, in any of his works ; 
except the testimony above mentioned, and the passage 
concerning James the Lord's brother. || 

8. " It interrupts the narrative. 

4. '' The language is quite Christian. 

5. " It is not quoted by Chrysostom,^ though he often 
refers to Josephus, and could not have omitted quoting it, 
had it been then, in the text. 

6. " It is not quoted by Photius, though he has three 
articles concerning Josephus. 

* In his Vindicie Flavians, or a A^ndication of the Testimony given by 
Josephns concerning our Saviour Jesus Christ, 1777. 

t Life of Dr. Lardner, by Dr. Kippis, p. 23. % Ibid. 28. 

§ His Answer to Dr. Chandler. || Ibid. 

f John, Bishop of Constantinople, who died a.d. 407, was called St. Chry- 
sostom, or Golden-mouthed, from the charms of his eloquence — the anther of 
the last prayer in our Liturgy. 


7. ** Under the article Justus of Tiberias^ this author 
(Photius) expressly states that this historian (Josephus) 
being a Jew, has not taken the least notice of Christ. 

8. *^ Neither Justin in his dialogue^ with Trypho the 
Jew, nor Clemens Alexandrinus, who made so many ex- 
tracts from ancient authors, nor Origen against Celsus, 
have ever mentioned this testimony. 

Sk 'VBut on the contrary, in Chapter xxxv. of the first 

; book of that work, Origen openly affirms, that Josephus 

who had mentioned John the Baptist, did not acknowledge 


Dr. Lardner was anxious to have studied the defence 
' set up for this passage by the Abbd Bullet, which it seems 
never came to his hands. Of this defence, the chief argu- 
ments, in its own words, are — 

1. '^ That Josephus could not be ignorant that there 
had appeared in Judea, a charlatan, impostor, magician, 
or prophet, called Jesus, who had either performed won- 
ders, or found the secret of persuading numbers to think so. 

2. " That he ought to have taken some notice of Jesus 
and bis disciples ; and that 

3. " Because Suetonus and Tacitus have done so. 

4. ** Because, he has given an accurate account of all 
the impostors, or heads of parties which arose amongst 
the Jews, from the empire of Augustus, to the ruin of 

5. *^ Because, the faith of history required that the 
existence of Jesus and his disciples should not be passed 
over in silence ;" and 

Hence it is inferred that Josephus must have written 
this passage: and its not being found by any of the 
fathers before Eusebius, is to be accounted for, by the 
supposition (a pretty fair one) that Josephus himself 
might have published two distinct editions of his works, 
inserting the passage in that edition, which came to the 
hand of Eusebius, but omitting it in all others. 

So struggles conquered sophistry against victorious 


As long as it would do— and criticism, afraid of losing 
its ears in the pillory, was constrained to whisper its 
discoveries in a corner, and vent its secret sentiment, in 
''curses not loud but deep," the evidences of the Christian 


"7 religion, boasted of the Celebrated inscription on a public 
monument, erected at the time of the events it rei^nrded, 
and still preserved ; ascribing to the emperor Nero, the 
praise of having purged the province of Spain^ in which it 
was situated, from those who in his times, were labouring 
to inculcate a new superstition. 

^^ So that here were all the marks of genuineness which 
Mr. Leslie in his Short and Easy Method with Deists, 
maintains to be sufficient to demonstrate an utter impossi- 
bility of imposture, in any document in which they are 
found concurring. This celebrated inscription is puUCshed 
by the learned Gruterus in the first volume of his Inscrip- 
tions, p. 238, is copied by Dr. Lardrer from Gruter,* and 
is by the learned Pagi, and other no less learned advocates 
of the evidences of tiie Christian religion, vindicated by 
arguments quite as learned, as ingenious and as con- 
vincing, as any that have hitherto been adduced for the 
equally veracious testimonies of Josephns and Tacitus^ 
The inscription is, 







t, e. " To Claudius Caesar Nero Augustus Supreme Pon- 
tiff. In honour of the province having been purged firom 
thieves, and from those who were endeavouring to teach 
the human race a new superstition .'\ Subaudi — no better 
than thieves. I particularly wish to engage the reader^s 
consideration to the homogeneity of character which this 
celebrated inscription presents^ to the still more celebrated 
passage of Tacitus. Apply the one, an undoubted and 
unquestionable imposture, as a test of comparison to the 

The example of this passage demonstrates these corol- 
laries : — 

1. That Christian forgers were very heedful to forge in 
keeping and character ; and 

2. That in falsely representing what their enemies might 
have been supposed to have said of them, they suited the 
supposition to the person ; and 

• Lardner, vol. 3, p. 609. 


3. Rather overdid the representation for the better 
makings sure a^inst being suspected of being the authors 
of it themselves. 

4. Reviling and decrying themselves, in rather stronger 
terms than their enemies would have been likely to use 
against them. 

5. Thus they would contentedly be put on a level with 
thieves, and have their divine religion spoken of as some- 
thing that ought to be purged out of society ; for the sake 
of making the testimony ,% which they had forged them- 
selves, the more plausibly seem to be, the testimony of 
their enemies. 

({. They, holding it better to be spoken of in any way, 
than not to be spoken of at all ; and 

7. The specific object and aim of the forgery, not being 
to represent what the character of Christianity was; 
(which they could easily and at any time vindicate,) but 

8. To represent Christians and Christianity to have 
existed, when and where they did not exist, to have had an 
extent of prevalence which it had not, and to have been 
of a degree of consequence and notoriety, as distinct from 
any of the multifarious modifications of the ancient 
Paganism, from which in fact and truth it was neither 
distinct, nor distinguishable* 

But this celebrated inscription has at length served its 
generation ; and it is now no longer indictable at common 
law, to own the truth with respect to it, and pack it off 
with Josephus, Ijentulus, Pilate, Phlegon, and all the 
whole noble army of martyrs. The distinguished Spanish 
historian, John de Ferrcras, has escaped the inquisition, 
though he has ventured to own that he could not restrain 
himself from confessing,* " that it was even Cyriac of 
Ancona, who first foisted this bit of Christian evidence 
upon human credulity, and that it was from his brewing, 
that all the rest of 'em filled their vessels, but now happily 
any one may judge of it as he pleases.'* 

This allowance has emboldened Mr. Gibbon, who shows 
in a note that he has read the passage of Ferreras, to 
fling stones at this inscription, and to say, ^^it is a 

* Je ne puis mVnifiecher d'observer que Cyriac d'Ancone fut 1c prpmier qai 
pablU cette inscription, et que c*est de lui que les nutres I'ont tir^e ; mais 
comme la foi de cet Ecrivain est suspecte nu juirement de tous les sQavans, que 
d'ailleurs il n'y a ni vestige ni souvenir de cette inscription dans les place<t ou 
Toot dit qu'elle s'est trouv^e, et qu\)n ne scait ou la prendre a present, cbacun 
peui en porter le jugement qu*il voudra. — Histoire geHcraie d'Etpagnty torn. I, 
p. 192. 


r manifest and acknowledged forgery, contrived by diat 
; noted impostor, Cyriacus of Ancona, to flatter the pride 
1^ and prejudices of the Spaniards/'* ) He would have said 
^^' as mucn of the passage of Tacitus, had he but found 

another John de Ferreras, to pioneer his way through the 



While the lie would do, npthing was so common or 
so natural as that it should be often overdone. The 
advocates for Christianity once meeting a little success 
in this way, would turn every mile-stone on the- roads 
into a monument of Christianity. More than a copy 
would be more than the worth of these to the emperors 
Diocletian and Maximinian. They rest like that to Nero, 
on the faith of Baronius. 


tebant; and 


Procopius mentions a Phoenician inscription upon two 
famous pillars near Tangicrs^ which was, 


viov Novij. — i. e. 

" We are they who fled from the face of Joshua the robber^ 
the son of Nun. ' 

Thus have we not only forged writings, but pretended 
monuments that never existed, to record events that never 
happened. So reckless, so desperate, so audacious are 
the tricks that have been resorted to, to give to Bible 
Skiology, an appearance of historical fact; that is, to 
bring heaven and earth together. 

TACITUS, A. D. 107. 

We have investigated the claims of every document 
possessing a plausible claim to be investigated, which 
history has preserved of the transactions of the first 
century ; and not so much as one single passage, purport- 

* Gibbon, chap. 16. 


ing to have been written at any time within the fiiBt 
hundred years, can be produced from any independent 
authority whatever, to show the existence at or before that 
time of such a person as Jesus Christ, or of such a set of 
men as could be accounted to be his disciples. 

After the many forgeries and interpolations that have 
been detected in the texts of authors of high repute, nay 
the forging of whole books and palming them upon authors 
of established reputation, for the purpose of kidnapping 
their respectability into the service of Christianity, and 
fathering them with admiii(sions, which they never made 
nor intended ; it would have been next to a miracle, if the 
text of the great prince of historians, had been suffered to 
Gome down to us unengrafted with a suitable recognition 
of the existence of Christ, and of Christians : or if, after, 
the shrewdest talent and profoundest learning were 
engaged in the service, the important business of managing 
«ach an interpolation had been left to hands that could not 
have done it better than to fear detection from any ordinary 
powers of criticism. 

Eusebius had christianized Josephus ; it remained for 
shrewder masters of criticism, and the more accomplished 
sdiolars and infidels of a later age to perform a similar 
regeneration upon the text of Tacitus. 
_ - « r|ij^jg illustrious Roman inherits immortal renown as an 
:^ historian, for his beautiful description of the manners of 
the ancient Germans, his Life of Agricola, his History of 
Rome, from the time of the emperor Galba to the death 
of Domitian; and lastly for his Annals, beginning at 
Tiberius, and terminating with the death of Nero. He 
was bom about a. d. 62, and wrote his Annals very late in 
: life, as nearly as probable conjecture can bring us, about 
A. D. 107. 
The first publication of any part of the Annals of 
^' Tacitus, was by Johannes de Spire, at Venice, in the 
; >i year 1468. His imprint being made from a single manu- 
- script, in his own power and possession only, and pur- 
porting to have been written in the eighth century. From 
this manuscript, which none but the most learned would 
jL V know of, none but the most curious would investigate, and 
J' none but the most interested would transcribe, or be 
allowed to transcribe; and that too, in an age and 
> country, when and where, to have suggested but a doubt 
against the authenticity of any document which the 
authorities had once chosen to adopt as evidence of 

« . ^ 


Christianity, would have subjected the coDScientions 
sceptic to the faggot ; from this, all other manttscripts and 
printed copies of the works of Tacitus are derived : and 
consequently in the forty-fourth section of the fifteendi 
book of these Annals, we have 


After a description of the terrible fire at Rome in the 
tenth of Nero, and the sixty -fourth of our Lord, in whidi 
a large part of the city was consumed ; and an account of 
the order given for rebuilding and beautifying it, and the 
methods used to appease the anger of the Gods : Tacitus 
adds,* '^ But neither all the human help, nor the libe- 
rality of the Emperor, nor all the atonements presented 
to the Gods, availed to abate the infamy he lay under of 
having ordered the city to be set on fire. To suppress, 
therefore, this common rumour, Nero procured others to 
be accused, and inflicted exquisite punishments upon 
those people who were held in abhorrence for their crimes, 
and were commonly known by the name of Christians. 
They had their denomination from Christus, who, in the rtign 
of' Tiberius, was put to death as a criminal by the procurator 
Pontius Pilate, This pernicious superstition, though 
checked for awhile, broke out again, and spread, not over 
JuDEA, the SOURCE of this evil, but reached the city 
also : whither flow from all quarters all things vile and 
shameful, and where they find shelter and encouragement 
At first, they only were apprehended who confessed them- 
selves of that sect ; afterwards, a vast multitude discovered 
by them ; all which were condemned, not so much for 
the crime of burning the city, as for their enmity to man- 
kind. Their executions were so contrived as to expose 

* ** Scd non ope hiimanft, non Iftrgitionibus Priacipis, aut Deiim placaraen- 
tis, decedebat infam'm, quin jussum inccndium crederetur. Ergb abolendo 
ramori Nero subdidit reos, et qussitissimis pocnis adfecit, quos per flagritM io- 
visos, vulgus CAm/tano.t appellabat. Auctor nominis ejus Christus, Tiberio 
imperitante, per procuratorem Ponlium Pilatiim supplicio adfectus erat. Re- 
pressaque in prsesens exiliabilis superstitio rursus erumpebat non modb per Ja- 
dsam, originem ejus mali, sed per Urbem etiam, qwh cuncta undiqne atrocit, 
aut pudenda, confluunt, celebranturque. Igitur prim5 correpti qui fatebaotur, 
deinde indicio eorum, multitudo ingens, baud perinde in criroine incendii, quitm 
odio humani generis, convicti sunt. Et pereuntibus addita ludibria, ut fera- 
rum tergis contecti, laniatu canum interirent, aut crucibus affixi, aut flani- 
mandi, atque ubi defecisset dies, in usum nocturni luminis urerentur. Hortos 
suos ei spectaculo Nero obtulerat, et Circensc ludicrum edebat, habitu aurigas 
permixtus plebi, vel curriculo insistens. Unde quamquam adrerain sontes et 
novissima exempla raeritos, miseratio oriebatur, tamquam non utilitate pub- 
lica, bed in ssevitiano unius absumerentur." 


them to derision and contempt. Some were covered over 
with the skins of wild beasts, and torn to pieces by dogs ; 
some were crucified : others, having been daubed over 
with combustible materials, were set up as lights in the 
night-time, and thus burned to death. Nero made use 
of his own gardens as a theatre on this occasion, and also 
exhibited the diversions of the Circus, sometimes stand- 
ing in the crowd as a spectator, in the habit of a cha- 
rioteer ; at other times driving a chariot himself; till at 
length these men, though really criminal and deserving 
exemplary punishment, began to be commiserated as 
people who were destroyed, not out of regard to the pub- 
lic welfare, but only to gratify the cruelty of one man/' 

I consider this celebrated passage to be a forgery or 
interpolation upon the text of Tacitus, from no disposi- 
tion, I am sure, to give offence to those who may have 
as good reasons, and probably better^ for esteeming it to 
be unquestionably genuine, from no wish to deduct from 
Christianity one tittle or iota of its fair or probable evi- 
dence, but from a consideration solely of the facts of the 
casCy which I here subjoin ; and which, if they shall have 
less weight in the judgment of the reader than of the 
author : the reader will reap the advantage of holding 
the opposite conclusion, not only in concurrence with the 
decision of the wisest and best men in the world, but on 
that surer ground of satisfaction with which every con- 
viction is held, after men have been so faithful to them- 
selves as to weigh the objections that can be alleged 
against it. 

The facts of the case are these — 

1. This passage, which would have served the purpose 
of Christian quotation better than any other in all the 
writings of Tacitus, or of any Pagan writer whatever, is 
not quoted by any of the Christian Fathers. 

2. It is not quoted by Tertullian, though he had read 
and largely quotes the works of Tacitus ; 

3. And though his argument immediately called for the 
use of this quotation with so loud a voice,* that his omis- 

* In his celebrated Apology, Tertallian is so hot upon the scent of this pas- 
sage, that his missing it had it been in existence, is almost miraculoas. In 
Chapter 5 of this Apology, he says, *' Consult your histories, there you will 
find that Nero was Uie fu^t to draw the bloody and imperial sword against this 
sect then rbing at Rome." Yet even here, he stnmbles not on this famous 


sion of it^ if it had really existed, amounts to a viokmi 

4. Tliis Father has spoken of Tacitos in a way that it 
is absolutely impossible that he should have spoken of 
him, had his writings contained sudi a passage.* 

6. It is not quot^ by Clemens Alexandiinus, who set 
himself entirely to the woik of adducing and bringing to- 
gether all the admissions and recognitions which Pagan 
authors had made of the existence of Christ or Christians 
before his time. 

6. It has been no where stumbled on by the laborious 
and all-seeking Eusebius, who could by no possibility 
have missed of it, and whom it would have saved from 
the labour and infamy of forging the passage of Jose- 

Shus; of adducing the correspondence of Christ and 
Lbgarus, and the Sibylline verses ; of forging a divine 
revelation from the God Apollo, in attestation of Christ's 
ascension into heaven ; and innumerable other his pious 
and holy cheats. 

7. There is no vestige nor trace of its existence any 
where in the world before the 15th century. 

8. It rests then entirely upon the fidelity of a single in- 
dividual ; 

9. And he, having the ability, the opportunity, and 
the strongest possible incitement of interest to induce 
him to introduce the interpolation. 

10. The passage itself, though unquestionably the 
work of a master, and entitled to be pronounc^ the 
chef (Tcmvre of the art : betrays the penchant of that de- 
light in blood and in descriptions of bloody horrors, as 
peculiarly characteristic of the Christian disposition, as it 
was abhorrent to the mild and gentle mind and hij^y 
cultivated taste of Tacitus. 

11. It bears a character of exaggeration, and trenches 
on the laws of rational probability, which the writings of 
TacitQs are rarely found to do. 

12. It may be met and overthrown by the concussion of 
directly conflicting evidence of equal weight of challenge; 
a shock to which no statements of Tacitus besides are 

13. It is not conceivable that Nero, who, with all his 

* After other qaotations from the writings of Tacitus, Tcrtallian continues 
Ills argument, '* And indeed that same Cornelius Tacitus, that nuut praiing 9/ 
all liars ^ in the same history relates, ^ At enim Cornelius Tacitus sane ille men- 
daciorum loquacissimus in ead. hist. ref. &c." — Citat, Kortkoit, p. UTi. 


crimes, was at least not safe in the commission of crime ; 
and paid at last the forieit of his life, not to private re- 
venge, but to public justice, for less heinous enormities ; 
should have been so ludibund in cruelty, and wanton in 
wickedness, as this passage would represent him. 

14. It is not conceivable, that such good and innocent 
pieople as the primitive Christians must be supposed to 
be, should have provoked so great a degree of hostility, 
or that they shoald not sufficiently have endeared them- 
selves to their fellow-citizens, to prevent the possibility of 
their being so treated. 

15. It is not conceivable, that so just a man as Tacitus 
unquestionably was, could have spoken of the professors 
of a purer religion thai^ the world before